Vector Borne Disease Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention & Education - 1225 dogs, puppies (and a few kitties) saved since October 2001.
Illinois Birddog Rescue, Inc (IBR) is a 501(c)(3) Charity and licensed shelter by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Tax-deductible monetary gifts can be mailed to: P.O. Box 364 Wood Dale, IL 60191

Please visit our Donation blog to see the amazing people who have helped keep us going.

Buckwheat's 15th Birthday Fundraiser

Click here to donate $15 to help IBR and make Buckwheat's 15th the best ever!!

How blessed am I to have the companionship of my beloved rescue pup Buckwheat the past 14+ years.  Buckwheat and his litter of 9 puppies were left at the door of a rescue near Kansas City in 2002.  As 3 puppies were adopted, I was asked to take the other 6 pups into IBR's program.  Back then we were about a year old and we were new to puppy rescues.  As some of the pups had some upper respiratory issues, Buckwheat became gravely ill with Parvo virus at about 9 weeks old.  It was touch and go for several days and when he recovered I knew I was a failed foster and my other Pointer Westleigh and Setter Thelmalou didn't mind making room in the bed for him. 

Buckwheat followed in his sibling's footsteps and learned all about dog agility and as a Pointer/bully mix, showed some pointing skills in the field.  For fun, I got him registered with the AKC and put a hunting title on him.  On many occasions, Buckwheat's desire to work and hunt and point in the field bettered his pure bred bracemates. 

Over the years BW has been a huge part of IBR's success as he helped with so many foster dogs and also helped at so many adoption events. When Wes passed away in 2007, BW became my petsittng partner and has helped walk dogs and help with vacation clients for the past 10 years.

In February of 2008, Buckwheat was bit by a tick.  I didn't used to worry about tick bites in February, and he did have a flea and tick shampoo after our walk in the woods, but when he became feverish and not himself, I found the engorged hitch hiker under his collar a week later.  I know about many symptoms of tick borne disease having struggled with Lyme disease myself for many years and got Buckwheat started on proactive antibiotics and for the past 7 years I have done blood work annually, watched his health very carefully and treated on and off as is the protocol of many Lyme Literate DVM's and LLMD's as I know Lyme disease especially is incurable.  I also know that ticks in Illinois can carry many diseases including Babesia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  We can only test for Ehrlichia, Lyme and RMSF accurately with the IDEXX 371 so I assume based on human evidence of disease in Illinois that my pup was at risk for so much more.

Since  Buckwheat was infected with Parvo Virus, I only tested for antibodies through his life and never revaccinated him.  He has also never had any additional vaccines, no Lepto, no Bordetella, and absolutely no Lyme vaccine.  He has been exposed to so many different strains of kennel cough from so many sickly foster dogs and because his immune system is strong, thankfully he's never come down with it. Aside from slightly elevated liver enzymes in 2016, which meant he started on a good liver detox called Denamarin, he is still in great health.  He has good vision, good hearing and no arthritis.  He is still walking with a few pet sitting clients daily too.  He has been on a partially raw diet and has only been given human grade kibble and treats.

I tell adopters all the time what I have learned in this rescue and having also consulted with some very thoughtful DVM's who have followed some of IBR's successes, my goal for each and every adopter is that they have a dog as healthy and happy as my Buckwheat. ​Buckwheat has been my best buddy for nearly a third of my adult life.  The past few years I have celebrated his life with his annual fundraiser.  This year I am asking for a $15 donation for the 15 wonderful years Buckwheat has been on this planet helping me in good times and bad -trying to do my best to help a few homeless pets go on to live long and happy lives. My goal is to get 100 caring folks to help me raise another $1500 for the care of Mercedes, another Pointer mix and the other 3 liver and white Pointer boys waiting to come into our program. 

As best I can determine, Buckwheat's birthday was in early February so we both celebrate it on Valentine's day. I am going to have this fundraiser through February and put the names of the folks that contributed in a bowl and send out some of Buckwheat's favorite treats to some random winners in his honor.  Thanks for reading, thanks for helping and let's hope we do this again next year.

Foster Homes Needed For Four New Pointer Rescues

As 2017 began we were so happy to find homes for senior Setters Parker and Ruby. Surgery has gone well for Setter Mary Lynn and she is recovering nicely. Now our Pointers need your help. Chip and Dale are coming in from a breeder in Rhode Island. They turned a year old on February 2nd and will need all their blood work and neuter surgeries. As they have lived in kennels all of their lives, we'll need help getting them into foster homes where they can learn about being cage and potty trained as well as how wonderful it is to snuggle on the couch.

Cora and Dena are about 60 miles from each other in Southern Illinois and Kentucky. Cora will need her blood work and Dena was just saved from her stray hold in an over crowded shelter. Both girls like our new boys will need foster care to help get them ready for their forever homes. If you would like to help out these amazing dogs, please submit an online Foster Care application. We also offer Foster to Adopt for any of these dogs. As usual we will need some donations to help with their care and we welcome any help via our donation pages.

How Many Miles Would You Drive for Homeless Pets?

The IBR-Mobile Needs Some Repairs!!

UPDATE: since this original photo 3 of these dogs have passed away. Dantes, the blonde Setter in front passed away from heart complications at about 13 years old. Lani, the lemon Pointer was let go from complications from and enlarged heart in early February 2017 at about 14 years old. Clancy, my liver and white Pointer permanent had to be let go from her sinus cancer. She was maybe 11 and I cared for her over 2 years. I lost 3 dogs in less than a year and my heart is broken. My Saturn took them to every appointment and sadly to the vet when it was time to let them go. My Saturn has helped many more dogs come into the program and off to their new forever homes in 2017. I am still trying to pay off old maintenance bills- so any help would be appreciated.My 5 speed plastic Saturn Vue has over 230,000 miles on it. It makes me smile that my dogmobile is a collector's item but as you can imagine-- I have moved A LOT of pets- mostly dogs on rescue transports, to the dog park, to agility trials, to hunt tests and field trials but to many vetting appointments. How many cars or SUV's make this kind of a milestone. I'm still waiting for a new IBR car to just show up in my driveway as a donation- well a girl can dream anyway. My bumper sticker reads My Dog is my Co-Pilot and my beloved Pointer Westleigh had that honor for a long time followed by my beloved Setter Thelmalou and now my 14+ year old rescue Pointer mix Buckwheat rides next to me on every trip. Gosh so many dogs, so many weekends on the road trying to make a difference-- 1 mile at a time. IBR'S SATURN GO FUND ME

Meg, Cliff, Norm, Jake & Duke- Wisconsin Family and Lyme Disease

When I was bit and infected with Lyme disease over 17 years ago, I never knew how that incident would shape my life. Right after I was bit I lost my 6 year old dog Nasa knowing what know now-- surely from tick borne disease complications. When I started Illinois Birddog Rescue- it was because of the need to help homeless, abused and neglected American Field Bred English Pointers. My journey in helping these dogs led me to meet Dr. Hanover at the Animal Hospital of Gurnee who helped me learn about better tick borne disease screening. Today we test each and every incoming rescue dog, puppy, cat and kitten and our infection rate is nearly at 100%. My instincts to help these infected pets is uncanny and with all the research I have done and noting certain behavior issues, I have helped many friends and volunteers find the help they needed when there is a suspicion of Lyme disease. HERE is the story of one of my special friends and adopters-- Meg Hoffman. Please read and share- it may offer you and your family some hope.

SHOP SMILE.AMAZON.COM and Help Beagle Bobby, Pointer Clancy, Pit Bull Gretel and the IBR Dogs!

When you shop you can pick IBR as the beneficiary of your purchase. If you would like to donate a bag of food to help Bobby, Clancy or Gretel, check out Buckwheat's IBR WISH LIST!!(click here)

Rescue Pointer Brady-- VINDICATED!!

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.

IBR's Talk To Da Paw JH- A Very Special Deaf English Setter

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.

ACTION PROJECT--Illinois Birddog Rescue

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 .

SLOW KILL Heartworm Treatment- A Safer Option

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.

New Infected Dogs & Puppies NEED YOUR HELP!!!

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.

Foster Care & Pre-Adoption Shopping List

IBR in Upland Almanac

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.


Get to the Point!

Lani and Bella. Photo by Jenni Bidner

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.

The Feline Tick Borne Disease Project

IBR Rescue kitties Nathaniel and Jameson

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.

The Marshmallow Fluff Litter

YES BABIES- sadly you ALL got infected by your momma Marshmallow. After testing all our cats and a few volunteer's cats we are at 100% for infection rate. Thanks to Dr. Hanover and Dr. Miller for your help testing and treating all our cats and kittens.

Sponsor a pet in our program.

IBR Announces Fundraising Vehicle Donation Program!

IBR Rescue Setter- Dantes and Pointer- Lani.

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.

Support IBR With a New Logo T-shirt!

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

Setters do it in the Field.

Got Birds?
Get to the point!

Whoa Doggie! Slideshow

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.**

Join us on Facebook

In an effort to help dogs in urgent needs, we are listing as many as we can on the IBR Facebook Page.

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.

Monetary donations can be snail mailed to:
Illinois Birddog Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Wood Dale, IL 60191

Dog Breeds

Please visit us at Illinois Birddog Rescue and IBR Facebook

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. --Ralph Waldo Emerson