The past 10 years nearly 100% of our incoming dogs, cats, kittens and puppies are showing tick borne disease infections. Why is this? Several years ago this rescue and me personally went on a quest to help find the best testing and diagnosis to help our rescue population. Because I suffer from Lyme disease, I understand how hard it is for people to be diagnosed properly, and the testing available for pets is often not accurate and sadly as Animal Hospitals are businesses-- many clinics use diagnostic labs that offer them better pricing. The worst thing about what I have learned is the best tool for diagnosis is not even in the IDEXX manual. The 371 IFA serology is most like the testing that is often more accurate in humans. The testing IDEXX promotes is their snap tests that use a Lyme Quant C6 approach to Lyme disease diagnosis which we have shown test after test, is not accurate. The turning point in IBR's tick borne disease testing was when a DVM adopted an infected Pointer from me, "Because he wanted to learn more about Lyme disease." Since then Dr. John Rimkunas has adopted a beagle also struggling with tick borne disease. Seeing both his dogs struggle physically and emotionally has helped him see what I have been seeing for years.
I will be posting more about this- but wanted to at least show the comparison between the IDEXX 4DX snap test and the IDEXX 371 IFA Serology that we ran on new rescue Pointer Shaun. Shaun came in with a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Shaun was also limping from his left front wrist and had a large bloody seroma extending from the joint and another seroma on the right wrist too. Dr. John noted that he suspected tick borne disease and thankfully we did the better testing as Shaun is feeling so much better now that he is being treated. Many vets are taught that Shaun's Lyme titer of @1:800 and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) titer @1:200 would be "exposure" and not treat-- even if the dog is symptomatic. I will never understand this- and so frustrating. Note that the result for Lyme disease on the 4DX snap was negative and sadly the snap does not test for RMSF. Could Shaun had been vaccinated for Lyme disease- not likely and we will do follow up testing to see where his titers go. Because he also has RMSF, we can assume he has been subject to tick bites. I do hope some folks find my page and if their dog is struggling and only a 3DX or 4DX snap test was performed, that a better IFA Serology can be done for better diagnosing. Tick borne disease is epidemic in this country- and so many animals are suffering because of it.
I was sent an email on Monday October 2nd about a senior Setter that was in rough shape. Autumn came to town the next day on the big volunteer transport from Southern Illinois shelters. Upon arrival to my home I got photos and let her meet my dogs. She also got a shampoo before she moved to my vet for blood work, vaccinations, heartworm testing, and medication. With some TLC, good food and treating her suspected tick borne diseases, she will get better and will also grow out her beautiful coat. Here is Autumn's Facebook Photo Album.
When you shop Smile.Amazon.com- you can pick IBR as the beneficiary of your purchase. If you would like to help-- check out Buckwheat's IBR Amazon.com WISH LIST!!(click here)
Brady finished his Derby season with first in Open Walking Derby at the Fort Dearborn GSP Club in September and a first in Amateur Walking Derby and another first in Open Walking Derby at the German Wirehair Pointer Clubs trial in October. Brady came into IBR's program in the worst health suffering from at least 3 undiagnosed tick borne diseases- Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Brady had chronic diarrhea and bloody stool and was a pointing training reject. Brady has made the most remarkable progress in foster care with his loving foster dad Hector Becerra and while he had a few medical setbacks, he has regained all of his natural scent pointing and hunting abilities. As we have Brady's FDSB papers, we know his Great Grand Pappy is Hall of Fame Inductee CH Erin's Southern Justice and his pappy is CH Erin's Brave Heart . While he has fine genetics, being infected with tick borne disease caused terrible damage to his health while affecting his confidence and drive in the field. I knew we could help him and thanks to many sponsors, after a year plus of medication- he is recovering very well and we are thrilled at his success in Derby this fall.
To date Brady's breeder has no interest in this puppy's health or welfare and was unwilling to test his mom and sold her :O(. This lack of responsibility for the dogs breeding programs is a HUGE problem with the the American Field and with back yard breeders everywhere. Rarely are any of the puppies micro-chipped for their protection and so many of these magnificent dogs wind up in landfills or shot dead when they don't perform. We have proven over and over that these dogs are so at risk for tick borne disease working and training in tick infested areas or being borne to infected Bitches that there is no hope for them to recover unless they find a rescue as dedicated as we are here at IBR to help them succeed and find forever homes. Brady's Vindication is one amazing little Pointer- he looks like a million bucks on point and has the sweetest personality. I can not be more proud of Hector and Brady and am grateful that he trusted me mentoring him in the field- but that was easy- Brady was such a natural once he got over his bad memories and fear. On his last run at Des Plaines Conservation area on October 26th- he ran hard, was incredibly smart and bold following the Derby course and was breathtaking in point. Hector handled him magnificently and as a newbie to field trailing and Pointers, and brought back so many memories of my own when I ran my first Pointer in field trials so many years ago.
THANKS TO ALL- that donated and sponsored Brady's medical bills and Field Trial entries to make all of this possible. We do GREAT work here at Illinois Birddog Rescue and we need as much help as ever. Lisa- IBR Founder and President.
So many TO DO's on my TO DO list while trying so hard to raise funds and help save more- that I pushed Gavin's Story further down on that list. His story is an important one and I created his own Web Page. I never gave up on him- NEVER- even when it was suggested that he be put to sleep. I thank my own Setter stubbornness and my Setter guardian angel for helping him be the little over-achiever he was meant to be.
Logan Daniels is one of our great kids helping in Illinois Birddog Rescue's foster care program. In the spring of 2014, his 4th grade class at Center School in Freeport, Il, were involved in an action project to get the kids more involved in their community. Logan decided to focus on IBR's Tick Borne Disease program because his first foster Setter Genevieve came in with 3 diseases and his current foster buddy Hudson is fighting at least 2. Hudson has had his ups and downs and his foster mommy Jessica is keeping a journal of his behavior in their home. Logan got an A! Read more about Logan's Action Project HERE .
I have been in Pointer/Setter rescue for over 14 years now. I have seen many vetting successes and many vetting failures and once we started to see the high incidence of tick borne disease in our positive heartworm dogs and how so many of these dogs struggled with the Immiticide/Cyanide treatment we had to find a better way. After doing some research and hearing from vets that only used Heartguard or similar product and adding doxycycline for the Wohlbachia issue, then adding good blood work including the IDEXX 371 tick panel to uncover tick borne disease complications- we are happy to share the IBR's Slow Kill Method success story page. All the dogs that went through this treatment plan were examined by our attending vets and they in turn scripted out the Heartguard or Iverheart and helped us get the appropriate blood work done. Some dogs were treated out of state and to the surprise of their attending vets also did very well. As a rescue we never want to rush treatment in order to move a dog out the door for adoption and thankfully most of the dogs in the slow kill are in foster to adopt.
What a Year! One after the other we have tried to save a few more dogs and puppies that were going to die in over crowded shelters across the Mid west. I wish we could save so many more but at this juncture- IBR is in its worst financial shape due to the huge cost of antibiotics for all the infected dogs in our program. Every month the antibiotic expense can run upwards of $1,000 and even though we have prescription cards for our dogs and puppies- we just can't seem to keep up. It is critical that these dogs with so many tick borne disease co infection get their medications and so many also need special food requirements. We are behind in getting some of the basic blood work done on some of the newbies and I am asking again for your help. Any donation- no matter how small will help these wonderful sweet pets that have so many health challenges. Below is a helpful chart that explains our most important needs and how you can contribute to the care of these sweet adoptable dogs and puppies.
It is always wonderful to be recognized for all the hard work we do here at Illinois Birddog Rescue. It is especially gratifying when my hard work pays off especially when it comes to my special deaf Setter rescue Gavin. I will put fingers to keyboard soon and document his story as it needs to be told. This little dog is what makes all the hard work and sacrifice worth while.
As IBR celebrates our 13th year of dog rescue- I want to show off our new adoption event banner featuring rescue Pointer Lani and rescue Setter Bella. I had wanted a great backing photo of one of our talented rescue Pointers and rescue Setters for a long time and this image really epitomizes what IBR is all about. Lani was pulled from a high kill shelter in Kentucky in 2007 and UNTIL we discovered his Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever infections via the IDEXX 371 tick panel in 2009 (low titers that would have been missed via 4DX Snap testing and Lyme Quant C6 testing), and started long term treatment, Lani had no hunting instincts, could not scent point anything and suffered from terrible separation anxiety, was very destructive and was a fence jumper. Lani finished his AKC Junior Hunter title in the Spring of 2012, has competed in American Field US Complete Walking Field trials and is the most reliable handling rescue I have ever worked with and has free run of my home now. He is a couch potato! Sadly Lani still relapses on occasion and is most likely incurable. Lani is the dog that really helped me understand most how tick borne diseases can affect the natural hunting abilities and drive of these magnificent dogs. What I have learned from him the past 5 years has helped so many other Pointers and Setters that were dumped for non performance through no fault of their own due to tick borne disease infections.
Bella was an owner surrender and was also an escape artist. Her foster dad- who eventually adopted her- worked very hard to help her overcome her issues and she is a working hunter every fall. Nothing makes her daddy John happier than bragging about his IBR rescue Setters- Bella especially.
We have many success stories like this and hope we can continue to help save more and educate hunters, field trialers but more importantly-- lovers of the American Field Bred English Pointers and Setters in the United States. There is an epidemic of tick borne disease affecting these dogs (most infected from birth) and we have such a long road ahead of us to try and educate veterinarians to better testing, longer treatment regemines and the warning signs of tick borne disease beyond traditional thinking.
In April of this year, I lost my beloved 15 year old Brown Tabbie, Indiana Cat, to complications of Lyme disease when he died. As my focus has been on testing dogs and puppies, I tested my own cat too late and I was devastated. So begins IBR's research and testing into our feline friends and we have already been amazed at all the positive lab results so far.
In October of last year, Jameson was found as a stray in Nappanee, Indiana and he did not have any fleas or ticks on him. For grins we did an IDEXX 371 serology to look for evidence of Ehrlichia, Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) infections. He was about 7-8 months old and acting somewhat normal. We were surprised to see he had a titer for Ehrlichia at 1:25 and Lyme disease at 1:100. Our vet supplied us with doxycycline and amoxicillin and we treated him for three months and retested in January where we found that his titer for Ehrlichia rose to 1:100, his Lyme titer rose to 1:800 and an additional co infection of RMSF showed up at 1:25. During treatment Jameson did seem to sleep a lot. In March we retested again after another couple months of doxy and amoxi and BOTH Ehrlichia and RMSF titers went <1:25 and his Lyme titer went down to 1:100 and we were advised to stop treating. Sadly, we retested Jameson the end of September and his Ehrlichia titer is now up back up to 1:100 and his Lyme titer is again on the rise at 1:400. Jameson is an indoor kitty so there is no possibility of reinfection. He was not treated long enough and he is still fighting the original diseases. He did have a kitty rage episode so that really confirmed that he was still struggling and now that he is back on his antibiotics, he seems much happier and his stools which would clear a room are not as stinky. THANK GOODNESS. Here are his labs Jameson 2011/2012 labs,and Jameson Sept 2012.
The cost per test on average runs about $100 each. I prefer the IDEXX 371 because of the lower starting titers for disease, especially for Ehrlichia and RMSF. I have no doubt we have stumbled upon something major here and having chatted with several Veterinarians on the subject, there is A LOT of misinformation and ignorance on this issue- one vet told me cats can't be infected as they groom themselves too well (has he never seen a flea and tick infested stray?) and another stated the lab can't possibly be accurate for cats. I also had a vet absolutely refuse to treat even though the kitten's CBC/Chem had many red flags for infection. Thankfully I found a more open minded caring vet.
I have no doubt most cats and kittens are at risk and the infection rate has to be close to 90% or more in our cat population based on the percentage we are finding in random testing and I am sure most of these infections are being transmitting from infected mother to kitten as we are finding in our dog and puppy rescue testing.
In order to keep going with this very important project, we will need donations. I will work on Grant money too, but if you are a cat lover and want to help us with our new kitties, please donate to the Feline TBD Project.
We are thrilled to be partnering with Charity Dispatch in an effort to raise much needed funds for IBR. Click Here to start the process of donating your car to our program. Charity Dispatch makes it easy and safe and does all the work from towing your vehicle away, and also providing the necessary documention for your tax deduction once your car sells at auction. Thank you for your consideration!
More about Charity Dispatch's Vehicle Donation Program: Automobile owners who believe that their vehicle is not suitable for an automobile donation, are advised that we will accept automobiles in all in conditions, and the car which is not in running condition will bring in funds by stripping the car for spares. The sale of the spares will be used for the funding of the charity organization, and as such, any type of automobile donation, no matter the condition or the age of the vehicle, is a selfless act and will go a long way in assisting an organization that is battling to stay afloat because of a lack of funding. The automobile donation is very common and in fact, donating a car is as common as donating used household goods or money and since the automobile donation process is expertly handled by Charity Dispatch, which will handle the collection of the automobile at no cost to the donor, those who would like to make an automobile donation will find our services to be very helpful.
Charity Dispatch is a specialist in automobile donations and more than offering assistance with an automobile donation, donors are free to make donations of SUVs, boats, motorcycles, airplanes and timeshares. Those making an automobile donation will not only be offering a helping hand to organizations that are in dire need of funds, but since the charities represented on our website are all IRS Approved non-profit organizations, the donor will benefit from a tax deduction with the automobile donation.
Designed and illustrated by IBR Founder and President, these Pointer and Setter shirts are fun and say it all! Took me a while to figure out Adobe and Cafe Press.--but glad I found some time to get some new designs out for the IBR fans!! Enjoy--Lisa
View the new Powerpoint slideshow showcasing our rescue
legacy from the first nine years.
**You must have Powerpoint to view the slideshow. Each slide will advance on its own. This is a large file and may take time to download.**
Illinois Birddog Rescue wants to make sure all of our adoptable dogs stay healthy throughout flea and tick season. We welcome donations of Frontline, Heartguard, or any similar product. Email Lisa if you would like to help.