Mardi’s story starts off almost 14 years ago when she was transferred to Illinois from New Orleans by West Suburban Humane Society during Hurricane Katrina. Four month old Mardi was adopted by her family on New Year’s Eve. Her family says she has a strong stubborn streak, but is the sweetest dog done without a mean bone in her body.
Last May Mardi became unable to walk and a radiograph revealed an abnormality on her spine, which her family feared to be cancer.
She was referred to Purdue University Small Animal Hospital, where it was discovered that she had cervical IVDD, so a ventral slot decompression of C6-7 was performed. Mardi had a very rough recovery and developed aspirate pneumonia after surgery, which lead to a week long hospitalization in the ICU. And if that wasn’t enough, she also tore her cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Her owners never gave up on her though and nursed her back to health.
Mardi was referred to Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen where she met with her new team, Dr. Annie Ubatuba and Michelle. Dr. Annie noted during her evaluation that she was incredibly weak and did not have the ability to stand on her own. A rehabilitation program was created which included acupuncture, underwater treadmill, massage, laser, and exercise. She was also fitted for a stifle (knee) brace to address her CCL tear.
“Despite being older, Mardi has such a strong fighting spirit. It’s inspiring to see her get stronger and feistier the more she comes to see us. Although she might not always be the biggest fan of sitting still for a laser or massage session, the therapies plus the orthotic have helped her come a long way. I look forward to seeing the progress she continues to make.” -Michelle
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Mardi has asked us to tell you about the organization that saved her life, West Suburban Humane Society.
The West Suburban Humane Society (WSHS) is a volunteer-based, animal welfare organization that was founded in 1972 as a lost-and-found referral service. A dedicated volunteer base and the retained service of several veterinarians has allowed us to save the lives of and give 600 homeless animals each year new homes. We continue to reunite lost animals and their families by maintaining a database with information on over 33,000 pets and their owners, and by providing free pet identification tags.
Floki was rushed to the ER last April when he became wobbly and painful. An MRI revealed that he had Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and a hemilaminectomy was recommended and performed immediately. Unfortunately all of this left him unable to use his hind limbs.
Amanda did research and found that we had a great reputation for working with special needs animals! Floki came to us shortly after his surgery and was prescribed an intensive rehabilitation program which consisted of exercise, laser, underwater treadmill, and acupuncture. His prognosis was guarded, but that didn’t stop him from trying his hardest and his dedicated mom Amanda was more than willing to do whatever it took.
We became fast friends since he started coming three times weekly for therapy! Floki’s progress was slow in the beginning, but he made promising improvements every week. He needed full assistance in the underwater treadmill to ambulate and was unable to push himself into a standing position.
A cart was also recommended to aid in his mobility which he took to quickly. He also hitches a ride in his wagon where he loves going on the 606, Humboldt Park and the dog beach. Floki has continued to make amazing progress at every session, and most of all he LOVES his therapies!
Floki continues to make huge strides every week and is now able to walk in the treadmill on his own and has even attempted to take steps on land!! His progress is also due to mom’s dedication to his home care. Floki has an amazing (and bossy) attitude which definitely played a part in his progress.
“First let me say that we are grateful for and really like all of the staff at IPC. Floki’s veterinarians, therapists and the patient service coordinators have been amazing. You all have been so patient and understanding of the struggle it was in the beginning and continue to be so nice and helpful!! Floki and I both would love to give a shout out to his therapist Renee for the extra time and love she has shown him. Renee has really been so helpful in making sure that we go home with handouts explaining our exercises and videos showing progress. She has answered every question I had about feedings, and how to learn to properly express/potty him. She has also coached me to be more relaxed and aware that if I show my frustrations to Floki, he will sense that and be frustrated also. I’m so thankful and so much more confident in caring for Floki because all that Renee has talked me through and shown me. She has gone above and beyond for us!” -Amanda
Make A Difference
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Floki has asked us to tell you about Road Dogs & Rescue.
Road Dogs & Rescue is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization in California focused on rescuing and rehabbing medical bulldogs, puppies with birth defects and spreading the message of love and compassion towards all animals, both locally and internationally.
Meet our July Patient of the Month Atticus, who is a six year old Frenchton (French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix). Atticus started having trouble with his spine three years ago, but recovered well with rest and pain medication. Unfortunately he suffered a setback in April of 2018 which left him completely unable to walk. He was rushed to a neurologist who performed a ventral slot surgery which decompresses the cervical spinal cord.
Atticus remained unable to walk after surgery, but regained mobility after a week. Rehabilitation was recommended and he walked through our doors a month later.
Despite everything that he had been through, Atticus looked pretty good! His rehabilitation program focused on pain management, fine tuning his mobility, and strengthening. He started coming twice weekly for underwater treadmill, exercise/laser, and acupuncture.
Atticus looked better and better to the IPC team at every visit and pain management modalities such as acupuncture and laser were able to be weaned out. Underwater treadmill and exercise sessions would now be the focus for strengthening.
Atticus continued to do well, so he was graduated to a maintenance level of rehabilitation. He now comes once weekly for underwater treadmill (which he loves) with acupuncture and a exercise/laser combo session every 6 weeks. Atticus is an IPC superstar!
“Atticus marches through our doors ready to WORK and does everything that is asked of him. He is a dream patient who never lets me down!” -Laura, CCRA
Atticus can usually be found patrolling the neighborhood with his mom Mary- something that she was worried he’d never be able to do again.
“Integrative Pet came in at a very difficult time after a spinal surgery for a ruptured disc. They have graced Atticus with the strength and comfort in order to recover beautifully and now he thinks he can fly! With the love that he’s been given at Integrative Pet I believe he can!” -Mary
“Elmore came to us three years ago when we were looking for a puppy. It was important for us to find one from a breeder who was part of the Newfoundland Club of America, did proper health testing on her dogs, and showed as well as participated in the Newfoundland events. We were hoping that we could take part in these activities with Elmore, but unfortunately this was not in the cards for him.
Elmore always seemed slow to rise, lazy, never jumped on people or on furniture, and was never super active. I always felt something was off, so because of this we became patients at IPC to maintain and build his strength.
By the time he was 2 years old he had gone through rehabilitation following tightrope surgeries to repair both torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs), as well as platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. After he was cleared by his surgeon we felt optimistic about his future.
However, days before Christmas, he was in the backyard running, and went down. He had ruptured his T13-L1 discs and was fully paralyzed in his back legs because of this. We were devastated and rushed him out to Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove to see Dr. Mitch Robbins immediately. An MRI revealed a type 3 intervertebral disc rupture at T13-L1 with no evidence of persistent compression of the spinal cord. The care Elmore received from the VSC team was phenomenal.
He did not undergo surgery as he had no compression of his spine. He was given a 75% chance to walk again within 3 weeks, otherwise he would not regain that function. Our goal was clear, he would need IPC to help save his life.
We had been going to IPC for several years with our other Newfoundland Cass ever since Dr. Robbins recommended it as the place to go for rehabilitation in the city. There was no other place we would go to for this type of work for our dog. I have told people during this time that while you all are great at everything you do, I truly feel that your Neuro cases are your “bread and butter”.
Watching a giant breed who was once paralyzed in the rear now race over cavaletti poles and run around the gym, albeit somewhat “drunkenly”, is all the proof I need. IPC’s thorough program for Elmore, which consists of exercise, underwater treadmill, acupuncture, massage, laser, Adequan, NMES therapy and more, has been amazing. It was the exact combination needed. Throughout all of this, every single person from the front desk, to the therapists to the vets have been a part of a team dedicated to helping us and him.
“I always look forward to finding and creating new challenges each time I work with Elmore. He’s always ready to work hard and make us proud. Big shout out to Ashley and Andrew- their commitment to his recovery has been truly inspiring!” -Elmore’s main therapist and biggest fan, Laura
Today Elmore likes to get up and go on his walks around the block, come home for breakfast, and then take a several hour nap. After that he’s back out on walkies where he may bark at a few things and take some pictures for his instagram account, where he is quite popular. He completes his day with dinner, more naps and of course visits to IPC where he goes roughly three times a week. Sometimes he gets to go out to different stores, parks and he LOVES car rides etc… But it is a bit more difficult now that he isn’t as mobile as he used to be.” -Ashley, Elmore’s incredible mom
One thing I can tell other people going through this is to try to stay calm! It is so hard, don’t give up and don’t give up on your dog- some days you will want to, and that is ok. Listen to the therapists at IPC and do the work at home, it is the only way they will keep getting better.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Elmore has asked us to tell you about Bialy’s Wellness Foundation.
Bialy’s Wellness Foundation helps families and rescue organizations care for pets with special needs, particularly those with mobility issues from paralysis, amputation, neurological or birth defects, and other diagnosed ailments.
Mosby first came to Integrative Pet Care a year ago at the recommendation of a friend who had come for years with their Great Dane. Mosby was getting weaker in his hind limbs and there was some worry that he was painful. He met with Dr. Ridley who devised a custom rehabilitation program which included pain management modalities: laser, massage and acupuncture. Exercises were then introduced to start strengthening his hind limbs. When Dr. Ridley felt he was strong enough, he started the underwater treadmill!
“Before coming to Integrative, Mosby had trouble standing on hardwood floors (his back legs would slide apart), had trouble going down stairs – sometimes falling, and was just generally unstable on his feet. Now Mosby stands and walks great on wood floors (generally avoiding the yoga mats we have sown for him) and gets down the stairs well on his own. He is more playful and has more energy. He even jump into our bed and into the car on occasion – even when we are trying to keep him from doing so!” -David, Mosby’s dad
Mosby has continually done well with his therapies! He now has weekly sessions of either underwater treadmill and exercise/laser and acupuncture.
“Mosby’s typical day starts off by getting up early and dragging me down the stairs to get breakfast. Then he likes to lounge around the house, mostly on his bench in the front window where he can keep an eye on things and go crazy barking at the occasional cat of rabbit. During this time he gets a couple walks which he finds very exciting, then after a nice nap I come home and it’s time for dinner. After dinner he basically naps until bedtime where he (usually) waits for me to put him in bed with Cathy and I even though he will eventually get down and sleep the rest of the night in his favorite chair.” -David
“Watching Mosby’s improvement over the past year has been incredibly rewarding. He has gone from slipping on the floors and walking wobbly to doing a sit up and beg all on his own, which is not an easy task!” -Laura, Mosby’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Mosby has asked us to tell you about CRISP.
CRISP provides free services to help Chicago pet owners keep their pets rather than surrendering them. And if we can’t help you find a way to keep your pet, our network of Chicago dog and cat lovers will help you place them immediately with a rescue group or no-kill shelter to bypass the city shelter completely.
“Minnie is an 11 years old Beagle/Cooker mix who along with anxiety issues, has always had some back issues for the last 6 years. On February 1, 2018 while sleeping, she apparently heard the mail truck when she jumped on our sofa, like she always did, but must have lost her balance and fell flat on her back. We immediately took her to our local vet, who thought she had sprained her back. She was actually walking when we left the office, but the rest of the evening was a total nightmare! Our poor sweet Minnie was unable to walk, get comfortable, or sleep.
We took her to an emergency veterinarian who noticed that her rear paws were not reacting well to stimulation. We were then referred to a neurologist who explained that she would need an MRI followed by immediate surgery to clean out the ruptured disc material. We made the decision to go ahead and give our loving family member the opportunity to get through this as she was still a healthy dog with good hearing and eyesight. The staff was wonderful and kept us updated throughout her 3 hour procedure. She was hospitalized for 5 days to be monitored and given daily laser treatments for pain management. We were given detailed homecare instructions as Minnie was unable to stand, and had bladder and bowel incontinence. It was a very stressful situation for us as she could not be left home alone since she was totally dependent on us for all her needs.
Two weeks later, her staples were removed and we asked, ‘where do we go from here?’ We were given a list of rehabilitation facilities and Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen was on the list, which we found convenient to our home location. We checked the reviews online, which appeared very good and decided this place may work well for us.”
“Minnie came to us after having surgery for an intervertebral disc extrusion. At her first appointment, she was unable to stand independently and unable to walk. We started an intensive rehabilitation plan that included acupuncture, therapeutic laser, and hydrotherapy. After 4 weeks, she could get to a standing position without assistance and even though her rear legs were weak and wobbly, she was able to walk independently. We started her therapeutic exercise program and placed her in a cart that allowed her to use her rear legs to help retrain her to walk normally. After 12 weeks of therapy, Minnie is able to walk independently and her rear limb weakness is much improved and she is back to living her normal life.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke
The cart worked wonders and she regained her independence! “Minnie is a great example of a neurological patient that benefits from using a cart to conserve her energy and it also helps to correct her abnormal gait pattern. Minnie reminds us that carts are not just for dogs that are paralyzed and they can be a useful therapy tool to help patients with neurological conditions progress in their rehab programs.” PT Valerie
Kathy and I are forever grateful to the staff at Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen and for the wonderful care Minnie has received from the front desk staff of Jill who books our appointments to Dr. Amber, Katie, and Val. Minnie was treated like she was their dog too. They really, really care!! It is so refreshing to see a staff who treats “all pets and pet owners” with the warmth and kindness we were given. We met several dogs and owners during this process who would surely agree with us!! Thank you so very much… and Minnie thanks you too!! -Greg, Minnie’s owner
“Watching her for from being unable to walk to not being able to slow her down in her cart was beautiful. I am so happy I had the chance to work with her and look forward to seeing her at her next recheck!” -Katie, Minnie’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Minnie has asked us to tell you about the ASPCA
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA) is a national leader in the areas of rescue, adoption and welfare and has worked tirelessly for over 150 years to put an end to animal abuse and neglect.
Tucker’s journey starts when he was found roaming the streets of Southern Illinois with his mom and siblings. Luckily he was taken in by Midwest Beagle Rescue, Education & Welfare (BREW). His future mom had been looking for a male companion for her other beagle, and she was smitten when she saw his picture online. When they met in person, it was love at first sight!
“Tucker first came to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen for Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). He had previously had surgery to correct the problem, but when he had a subsequent episode he came to us for help. Tucker was in tremendous pain and barely able to walk. We started an aggressive treatment plan of pain medication and rehabilitation modalities including TENS, acupuncture and manual therapy.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke explains Tucker’s condition
Dr. Melissa Trupia performed his first acupuncture treatment and he did amazingly well for his first session! When he returned for his second acupuncture session 4 days later, Tucker was willing and able to stand and ambulate on his own. “We were all so pleased with his progress and agreed that he was ready for additional treatment modalities including manual therapy and hydrotherapy.” -Dr. Trupia
Therapist Valerie tells us about Tucker’s therapy experience- “His pain was so intense that he would not weight bear on his rear limbs to stand or walk and Tucker allowed minimal hands-on work. He allowed cupping and manual therapy over his spinal muscles during his second session. By the 3rd and 4th treatment session, Tucker was now walking back to the therapy gym and was a completely different dog!”
“I cannot put into words how much everyone at IPC has helped my pets and supported us.. When I brought Tucker in this year, he was barely walking, and I had little hope he would walk again. He has many other health issues I have been trying to get ahead of this year, and this re-injury was a gigantic step backward for us. I was unclear of what the future may hold, but one thing I did know is the only team I trusted to help him were Dr. Amber, Valerie, Katie, Tiffany, Dr. Melissa and Jill! IPC of Homer Glen gave my best friend a longer pain-free life filled with happiness, mobility and lots of love. Thanks to the entire team, Tucker will continue to be spoiled and loved immensely.” -Becky, Tucker’s mom
“Tucker has made amazing strides at IPC and never fails to surprise us. It has been a joy to watch him return to the things he loves most!” -Therapist Tiffany
Midwest Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare, Inc is a 501(c)3 non profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing beagles from high-kill shelters. We adopt beagles to families within Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and have also placed beagles into loving homes in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri
“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.