“Charlie has been a part of our family since he was 10 weeks old, joining Buffy, a 5-year-old blind Cocker Spaniel and Sadie, an 8-year-old Cocker Spaniel. Charlie’s very energetic, social with everyone and very loving. He loves to spend time out in his yard running around the pool at full speed trying to get his other brothers and sisters to play with him. He would rather sit out in the grass or on the deck on a nice warm summers day than to take a nice cool dip in the pool with the others.
In June of this year Charlie became very wobbly as he walked, and suddenly had no control over his legs at all; it was like he became paralyzed and was having severe muscle spasms in his chest area. I immediately called his doctors at Colonial Manor and brought him in. After taking x-rays and doing a full exam Charlie was diagnosed with a form of myelopathy and disc problems and I was told that he may never walk again. From that moment on, Charlie became immobile and had to be carried everywhere. I couldn’t give up on my sweet baby boy. After a few weeks he began to move his legs again and a few more days after that he started to get up, but that quickly stopped, and he was down and immobile again. Hand water and feeding him and diaper changes throughout the day and night had to happen again and it was worse than the first time.” -Brian, Charlie’s dad.
Charlie was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen where he met with Dr. Amber Ihke and therapist Valerie Williams who created a treatment program which included NMES (electrical stimulaton), underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise & acupuncture.
“Charlie is a stubborn guy who improved in spite of himself. He came to us non-ambulatory and wasn’t motivated to get up and move. We began with instructing the owner how to use an NMES unit on all four of the patient’s limbs to stimulate muscular contraction. Although Charlie would not move during his therapy sessions, his owner reported slow improvements at home with increased mobility. Eventually, Charlie was able to stand with support and he began exercising in the underwater treadmill. Finally, it seemed like Charlie turned a corner and returned to walking outside at home without assist and even began negotiating stairs to enter and exit his home!” -Valerie
“Charlie is our little miracle; he could literally do nothing on his own! After weeks of intensive therapy and the diligent care giving of his owner, Charlie is now walking and running independently. A true testament to the power of rehabilitation.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke
“With Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen’s therapy plan along with daily home exercises & NMES while using his cart, Charlie started to show signs of movement. As of today, he got his appetite back and enjoys his food on his own and he is out walking around the yard again and even does some running around. He is back to going for short rides in the car and he is even going for short walks again to the local park. I never gave up on my little guy and neither did Dr. Ihrke and Valerie who made it their personal mission to get Charlie walking again and give him his quality of life back. THANK YOU Integrative Pet Care!” -Brian
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Charlie has asked us to tell you about Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter.
T.L.C. has served the community as a private, non-profit, humane society, dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and cruelty to animals. The shelter provides refuge for an average of three to four thousand animals yearly.
Here’s small snippets of Charlie’s road to recovery:
Symon was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease(IVDD) almost 4 years ago, so when his back pain started getting worse his mom wanted to do something more. “He still had his spirit and spunk, so I wanted to keep him strong and comfortable”, remembers Kristen. At the recommendation of Symon’s primary care veterinarian, Dr. Georgesen of Blum Animal Hospital, Kristen made an appointment with IPC. Symon met with Dr. Deanne Zenoni and Emma Widmark who created a treatment program that consisted twice weekly visits that focused on pain management and strengthening therapies.
Symon was suspicious of therapy at first, but soon learned that it meant lots of treats! His therapists taught his mom massage techniques and exercises she could do at home, which is something they still do to this day. After his initial 8 weeks of therapy, Dr. Zenoni thought he felt so good that he could go down to once weekly visits. Symon is now on a maintenance plan that consists of weekly underwater treadmill sessions and monthly acupuncture and therapeutic exercise & laser therapies.
“Symon is a super senior! I’m continually amazed by his abilities and efforts during his therapy sessions given his diagnosis. If I worked as hard as Sy does for a few lousy cheerios, I’d be in much better shape!” -Laura Krill
“As Sy is turning 14 this month, we are so incredibly grateful to have the support from our friends at IPC! I truly believe that Sy has the strength because of our therapy routine.” -Kristen, Symon’s mom
“Symon has done so well since starting therapy. He loves coming to see all of us, though he isn’t convinced the needles are necessary! He puts on a brave face and settles his head on his om’s lap while his acupuncture makes his back feel better.” -Dr. Zenoni
Kristen has had him since he was two months old and says he is the ultimate best buddy! “He is incredibly in tune with humans and his surroundings. I never have to worry about him wondering away because he always keeps tabs on me. He loves to be loved AND food treats!! He has managed to break into groceries and packaged food many times over the years…”
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Symon has asked us to tell you about CRISP.
CRISP is a new initiative that will pool the resources of eight local rescues to work in concert with Chicago Animal Care and Control to provide assistance and support for pet owners in need, divert owner surrendered animals to accredited rescues, and ultimately reduce the number of dogs surrendered at Chicago Animal Care and Control.
Dogs become such an integral part of the family that it’s impossible to imagine not providing them with the best quality of life. But, like humans, dogs are susceptible to disease and injury, sometimes resulting in mobility issues or even amputation.
Luckily, there are many options to manage your dog’s quality of life in regards to their mobility and comfort. One such option might be the use of a cart or a “dog wheelchair.” This device can help dogs who are suffering from paralysis, amputatio n, limb deformities, neurologic conditions and limb weakness.
There are many benefits to carts, beyond freedom; dogs suffering from neurologic conditions are essentially retraining their nervous system to stand in a normal position when they use a cart. It also reduces and relieves muscle tension and helps regain strength and a cart allows for better mobility and a decrease in the stress on parts of their body due to over-compensation.
“Bayou will be 8 years old in September. He is a Puggle = pug + beagle. Bayou has three reasons to wake up every
keep an eye on what happens in front of our house
and to nap.
Everyone is a potential threat to us whether they be a little girl with glittery fairy wings or a kid with a clip board trying to sell windows, Bayou makes sure to let all know that he is on the job.
The eating and napping part of his day make it difficult for him to keep a svelte figure. We are constantly battling his appetite, much like his owner! We came to IPC (and Colonial Manor Animal Hospital) because Bayou hurt his back.
I was excited to see that IPC was in the very town I live in, because I was reading people were driving some pretty decent distances to use this facility.
I took Bayou into the vet to have his pain assessed. At his first visit Bayou yelped in agony as I carried him into the office. He definitely let his presence be known! The vet tweaked the pain medications and started Adequan injections. Unfortunately, Bayou’s pain was so severe I couldn’t get him to eat, so I could not get him to take any pills. This dog turned down bacon wrapped in cheese! No pain pills meant we had another horrible night. By horrible I mean neither of us slept, he panted heavily all night long, and at one point sat up and pooped out blood. The pain meds just ravaged his intestinal tract. I took him back to CM, in the back of my mind thinking I might have to put my boy down.
If it was possible, he was worse at our second visit to CM than our first the day before. This time the vet suggested I leave him with them for a few hours so they could put him on something intravenously. He ended up spending Friday through Monday in the animal hospital. I spoke with the vets several times each day and they were very encouraged by the progress Bayou was making. It just so happened that Bayou’s IPC appointment was Monday morning. Because the two businesses are in the same building, the vet from IPC was able to see Bayou without having to move him.
By Monday Bayou’s pain was gone but so was almost all muscle mass. He was like a little sack of potatoes. I found out during our first visit with Dr. Amber that a technician called her after our first visit to Colonial Manor to tell her about Bayou. Dr. Amber was on vacation, I believe in Virginia, when she received the call! Monday was Dr. Amber’s first day back in the office and she knew all about Bayou.
At that first visit Bayou was assessed by Dr. Amber and Valerie and they came up with a four week plan for his initial rehabilitation. He mostly received muscle massage and acupuncture. Dr. Amber also prescribed a strong pain medication for Bayou to take at home – his pain was managed and he was finally comfortable. He received physical therapy twice weekly and was in Colonial Manor for Adequan injections twice weekly over a four week period.
EVERYONE knew who Bayou was! It was four weeks before Bayou was able to walk into the IPC office on his own. Bayou is a perfect example of how medicine and physical therapy work together to make miracles. People who saw him at his worse and see him now call him the miracle puppy. We all wish we had video of him at his first visit to show the comparison to where he is now. Bayou has lost a few pounds, is pain free, and I have to say is filled with more spit and vinegar than before all of this happened. After another four weeks of muscle strengthening Bayou has completed his physical therapy. I’m just so happy to have my boy back.”
-Bayou’s mom, Debbie
“Bayou came to us with such severe pain suspected from intervertebral disc disease that he could hardly move. We immediately started him on a course of treatment that included acupuncture, manual therapy and therapeutic exercises along with medication to address his pain. With each visit, Bayou was moving and feeling better. By the end of his 8-week treatment plan, Bayou was no longer taking any medication for pain, had lost 2 ½ pounds and was running, jumping and back to his old self. He is a great example of a successful integrative approach to pain relief and intervertebral disc disease.”
– Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVSMT
“I remember first meeting Bayou and he was not moving because he was in so much pain. His owner had to carry him to and from therapy. Initially, I used manual techniques to release the trigger points and muscle spasms along his back and shoulder muscles. Slowly, I watched Bayou become less painful and start to move around more each session. I will never forget the day I walked in to greet Bayou for his session and he walked up greeting me with his tail wagging. I was shocked and did not recognize Bayou. I could not believe how quickly his pain levels were managed with pain meds, manual techniques and acupuncture. He then continued with his underwater treadmill and
exercise sessions and by the end of his therapy, Bayou was running around without showing any signs of pain.”
-Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
“When I first saw Bayou in his initial, he was so miserable. He was in severe pain that his owner could not control. I did not see him again until 4 weeks later when he started exercises and did not even realize it was the same dog! He came running into the gym happy and excited to work. It was an amazing turn around. By the end of his sessions I had a hard time keeping up with him.”
“Well we are Miller’s 3rd home and his FOREVER home! One of my wife’s friends had to get rid of him and he instantly became family. When this friend brought him to the condo we were living in at the time the first thing he did was pee on our blinds. We knew he loved us. He was 3 at the time and hadn’t really had any training so there were some challenges, but he’s a great dog and very lovable. He will swim for hours and loves being outside. If he’s not getting what he perceives as enough attention he will let us know by barking his displeasure. We couldn’t love him more and we know he feels the same. In terms of his injury, by the time we were pointed to you guys I really thought it was going to be a bad ending. He could really only get up to eat and use the bathroom. He was spending 90% of the day laying in our smallest bathroom in the house. Needless to say it was a very, very sad sight. His eyes were sad and he was in pain. It was very tough. Theresa is better at staying positive than me, but I thought if he even got back to 50% we’d be lucky. Some days I didn’t even think he’d get there.
After our first visit, which was really an assessment, I felt better and had much more hope.
It was very nice to hear some positives after hearing things like he needed surgery ASAP, ‘”He’s 7 so he’s only got a couple good years left regardless,” etc. After his first session in the 4 week program he was better. It was essentially all manual massage to help with spasms (after we were told by others he wasn’t having any spasms) and to get knots out. I know it was painful for him but we saw results almost immediately. When we used the Assisi loop on him he actually relaxed enough to lay down and fall asleep somewhere besides the little bathroom. Every time after he just got better and better. I was sure he’d get back to at least 80%.
After a few weeks of manual massage, water tread (where he claimed the yellow rubber ducky as his own) and stretching we were able to get him out for walks again. It took some time for him to get his strength back, but I am VERY happy to say that he is 100% back to his old, crazy self.
The one thing we haven’t let him do yet is swim, but we are headed to the U.P. of Michigan this weekend where he will have a week of sandy beaches and water to swim his little heart out. We can’t wait to get him there, he loves it and will swim all day if we let him. I am confident that he won’t have any setbacks, but if he does it is beyond comforting to know we have a place to take him where the ENTIRE staff truly cares.
Our entire family sincerely thanks you all for giving us our Miller back! Miller thanks you too!!!!!
Thank you all so, so much!!!”
“Miller came to us in severe pain with a suspected disc injury to his neck. With a combination of medication, rehabilitation and integrative therapies, we were able to turn Miller around. He is now a happy, healthy dog able to run, jump and play to his heart’s content. We are so proud of his recovery.”
– Amber Ihrke, DVM, CCR, CVA, CVSMT
“I remember when Miller walked into his initial evaluation. He could not reach down to the floor to get a treat, he yelped turning his head and he did not want to move as he appeared to be afraid of the pain. After Miller’s pain was addressed by Dr. Amber and I; I performed several sessions of manual therapy, Miller initiated exercising in the underwater treadmill with Katie. We watched him gain more confidence with his ability to move his head without the fear of pain. It seemed each time Miller came into see us his owners were telling us new activities he could now do at home, such as barking and getting up on the couch. Towards the end of his underwater treadmill sessions, Miller surprised us when he shook the water off himself without any signs of pain.
Miller’s spunk and zest for life finally returned to him at the end of his treatment plan. It was an amazing transformation that Miller underwent, from a dog so much in pain he could not move, to one that moved so easily and freely you would never have known he was the same dog.
I enjoyed finally meeting the REAL Miller!”
– Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
“At Miller’s first appointment he was in so much pain I couldn’t even touch him. He is so sweet and wanted to be loved, but was in too much pain. He could barely walk and couldn’t lift his head at all. But, after starting him on different pain medication he was like a new dog. His pain had lessened enough that we could really work on him.
Each session he would be more and more interested in his surroundings and what we were doing with him. Since then he is a crazy man when he comes in! I have a hard time getting him to sit still now!
We can finally see the real Miller and it’s been a wonderful journey to see such an amazing transformation.”
– Katie Neforos, CVT, CCRA
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an organization that is close to their heart to promote. This month Miller has asked that we tell you about the The Caspian Foundation.
Heinz was raised on a farm, he had High hopes of moving to the big city. His parent saw his constant desire to leave the farm and sent him to live with Midwest dachshund Rescue. Heinz met his future family at the Cross-Town-Bark-Around Doxie party in 2014. Two weeks later, he met his roommate Marley and they both moved to their furever home in Burbank, IL. Last Christmas, Heinz and Marley let a third member join their family, his name is Brutus.
After New Year’s Eve and too much partying…..Heinz was enjoying a run in the yard and all of a sudden his back gave out and he lost the use of his back legs. He had back surgery that night at Premier Veterinary Group. A week later, Heinz’ German stubborn prevailed and he
was determined to get up and play with the others. Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen came highly recommended to further his recovery with physical therapy.
Heinz’ happy go lucky sweet nature immediately charmed Dr. Amber, Valerie, Katie and Tiffany. His favorite part of therapy was the “Porcupine Treatment.”
Thanks to IPCHG therapy, Heinz is well on his way to full recovery and back to securing his home from the dreaded squirrels and destroying the squeakies.
-Pat Macke/Bill Koziolczyk
“Heinz came to us after surgery to repair a herniated disc due to Intervertebral Disc Disease. Throughout his therapy, Heinz has been a great worker and a lovely patient. He has now recovered his ability to walk and is looking forward to his summer playing with his family.”
– Dr. Amber Ihrke DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVMST
“Heinz is a gentle and loving little dog who is an absolute joy to work with. He has made some incredible strides during his rehabilitation at IPCHG. He has lost some weight and has shown a lot of improvement in the areas of mobility and core strength. He progressed quickly in the underwater treadmill and is doing much more advanced exercises during his therapeutic exercise sessions then he was able to do when he first started out with us. He’s a fantastic choice for patient of the month.”
– Tiffany Helphingstine, CCRA
Make a Difference
Each month we ask our patient of the month to choose a not for profit group to promote during their “reign.” This month Heinz has chosen Midwest Dachshund Rescue. If you can help them out, it would make Heinz’s day!
Midwest Dachshund Rescue is a 501(c)3 all-volunteer organization that was founded in 2003. We primarily serve Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and other Midwest states as needed.
Nina is a sweet, 8 yr old German shepherd. Nina’s owners adopted her as a puppy from a
shelter in Indiana. She enjoys long walks, playing stick or catch, snuggling with her siblings, (Travis & Isabelle as pictured) mom and dad, and of course being spoiled by her papa. Nina herniated a lumbar disc that left her unable to walk or move without a lot of pain and crying. Amy & Alex took Nina to see a neurologist who wanted to do surgery right away, but after some research and consulting with Dr. Amber at IPC we decided to try therapy. At first she was only able to do E-Stim with the tens unit (and got an awesome haircut- see picture) because of the pain. With some time she was able to add to her plan; manual therapy, underwater treadmill, ROM stretching, acupuncture, and exercises. Dr. Amber and Valerie soon discovered she does anything for peanut butter! It was a long process to get her feeling better, but well worth it. She is now able to go on her walks again and continues to do her stretching and exercises at home to continue with her recovery.
“We are so thankful for Dr. Amber and Val and all the work they put into helping Nina get better! We have nothing but good things to say about IPC and what they did for our fur baby and are forever grateful.”
-Amy and Alex, Nina’s parents
“When Nina came to Integrative Pet Care she was in a lot of pain and facing surgery, with our treatment plan and the dedication of her owners, Nina is a happy, healthy dog today. I am so proud of her and her success. “
-Dr. Amber Ihrke, Nina’s IPC veterinarian
“Nina is a great example of how much rehab can help a dog in pain. Nina came to IPC in so much pain that she cried any time she moved and we could barely touch her during her evaluation without her crying or yelping. Initially, Nina’s owners were given a TENS unit to use every day on Nina at home to decrease her pain level. Within a few sessions, Nina’s pain had significantly improved to allow me to perform manual techniques to decrease her trigger points, muscle spasms and improve her overall range of motion. With the help of Nina’s diligent owners and her therapy at IPC, we were able to return Nina to her old self. She quickly progressed from a dog that couldn’t move without pain to one that would drag her owners into her therapy sessions. My most memorable moment working with Nina is when she came into therapy one day barking and jumping around, acting like she was a young pup. I couldn’t believe she was the same dog we saw at her initial evaluation. Working with great dogs like Nina while helping to improve their lives and happiness is one of the greatest rewards of
Valerie Williams, PT, DPT, ATRIC, CCRP
Make a Difference
Nina would like us to tell you about German Shepherd Rescue, Inc. If you are able to make a donation in her name to them, it would make her day!
German Shepherd Rescue, Inc. is a growing group of volunteers committed to creating a second chance for German Shepherd dogs that, for many reasons, are in need of new homes.
GSR, Inc. is a state licensed, NO KILL animal shelter based in the Chicagoland area.
We are a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. Our income is derived from adoption fees, private donations and fund raising activities, all of which go to care for the dogs.
Edgar was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy (DM) almost a year ago, which is unfortunately common among the corgi breed. DM is a progressive disease of the spinal cord which begins with the loss of coordination in the hind limbs. While there is no known cure, a lot can be done to strengthen the front end and keep the dog more comfortable as the disease progresses.
Edgar joined the IPC family earlier this Summer when his mom was exploring ways to help keep him strong. He met with Dr. Zenoni and Emma to create a specific treatment plan which included twice weekly underwater treadmill and laser sessions. His parents were also taught some exercises to do at home and some adjustments were made to his cart to keep him cruising comfortably (and in style)!
“Although DM often feels like a terrible curse, it has bonded he and I together in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise”
In November of 1996, Mary Beth was presented with a gift that has not stopped giving: a 6-week old, white, fluffy pup, weighing in at 1.2 pounds. Tiny and adorable as she was, she quickly asserted herself as the alpha member of the family. Her name comes from Dionne Warwick (diva) and Deion Sanders (dominant personality). Despite those attributes, Dionne has been mostly laid back all her life. She is the epitome of unconditional love, except when it comes to dogs bigger than her. She has a long-time habit of walking up to them and nipping at their nose, but because she’s small and fast, she always got away with it. It seems even dogs can have the Napoleon Complex! (Spoil alert: this behavior has resumed.)
Dionne loves to dress up! Over the years, she has amassed quite the wardrobe, including matching collars and leashes. As she goes on her walks, she has delighted so many people with her variety of outfits and is appropriately dressed for each holiday. She enjoys the extra attention and bringing a bit of joy to others!