Star and Lily are 9 year old Pointer/ Labrador mix sisters that were surrendered to a Southern Illinois shelter in September. I found about their plight and was lucky to find foster homes for both and brought them into our program in early January. Sadly both are fighting tick borne disease- but otherwise are in good health and are loving the TLC they are getting as I was told they lived outdoors their whole lives. We are lucky to find wonderful homes for many senior dogs and are hopeful we can find their girls new forever homes for their Golden Years. Our current raffle is to help these special girls.
UPDATE 02-21-2021 Happy news- Lilykins had been adopted by a wonderful couple in Palatine, IL. She will be an only dog and will be spoiled rotten.
In early October, new foster dad Mike and his daughters Clara and Fabi, drove from Milwaukee, WI to southern Illinois to meet a transport that was driving Pointer mix Patsy north from Tennessee. At the transfer location, a Pointer named Buckley was also meeting him- being surrendered by his owner. Both were coming into Illinois Birddog Rescue's program and Mike was hoping to Foster to Adopt. Mike then met me at my vets in Burbank, IL where both dogs had blood work, exams and vaccinations and I gave him supplies for heartworm and potential tick-borne disease and dewormer, collars and leashes. Mike and his girls then drove home after an exceptionally long day on the road.
Thankfully, Patsy and Buckley got along great and the next few days started on their meds. We knew Patsy was heartworm positive, but sadly, Buckley also tested positive for heartworms, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mike and his family were already falling in love and happy to get them through our slow kill treatment. This program allows the dogs to play with each other and let both run off some puppy energy at the local dog park. Due to their long-term treatment plan and expense- I told Mike that I did not want to ask for any deposits on the dogs just yet.
About the time I was setting up my Have A Heart 5 Calendar Contest fundraiser, we found out Mike had contracted COVID 19 and a week later he was having serious health complications and was hospitalized. He had COVID pneumonia, blood clots in his lungs and was in serious condition. The rest of his family tested positive and while his daughters had mild symptoms, his wife Maurita struggled as well. As a family, however, they were able to visit Mike outside his hospital room which was on the first floor so that they could also bring the dogs to try and lift his spirits from his window. When I found out Mike was in the hospital, I decided to enter Patsy (now Iris) and Buckley (now Ewan) into the calendar contest because funds raised could help with their care. I edited the photo of them together on the couch and was ecstatic that folks donated to help them stay in the top 12. More good news, after about a week on blood thinners, remdesivir, and dexamethasone (steroids), Mike was able to go home. He is still on a regimen of steroids and oxygen to help him sleep and will be for many months as he continues to recover. He has also lost about 40 lbs.
Mike and I had a very candid chat recently and he is understandably very emotional about his experience. On a follow up appointment with his health care professional recently, the doctor stated he did not give him a lot of hope of surviving the virus as sick as he was. Had he delayed getting admitted to the hospital one more day, he probably would not have made it. Mike is in his 50's. Throughout his recovery, Iris and Ewan have been a huge part of quality snuggling and the best therapy. Ewan especially loves to lay on his new daddy's lap and now that Mike can handle a walk at the dog park, he is happy to continue taking both dogs for a good romp a few times a week. Mike might have some substantial hospital bills and the last thing I want him to worry about is the extra expenses for 2 heartworm positive dogs. This is especially why I want to give a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to all that participated and donated in the Have a Heart 5 Calendar Contest to help us raise close to $9,000 to help offset the care of Mike's Foster to Adopt dogs and the other 4 heartworm positive dogs we brought in the last 2 months. With all the extra vetting and supplies these dogs need, cost to help these dogs can run into the thousands.
02-2021: I added a whole bunch of photos I have taken of Harvey from Dec, Jan and February to his Facebook Recovery Album. It's been great seeing him doing so well, gaining weight, eating well and fully recovered from his surgery and dental. He is pretty reliably house trained now- but I make sure he goes out a lot. My guess is he really had to struggle to find food as he is a walking Setter disposal and will eat anything including sweet potato skins and cheetos. He is such a sweet fella and I hope finds the bestest forever home for the rest of his golden years.
11-27-2020: It's Harvey's 3 weekaversary in IBR's care. He's gained 6lbs and his heart sounds normal now :) He also trots and gallops in the yard and is feeling so much better. He has a long way to go still- needs to gain another 10lbs, but his future is much brighter now. I'd like him to put on another 5 and then we will see if he is ready for his neuter- especially since he might have testicular cancer. With the heart-worms and Rocky Mountain spotted fever we'll need to be careful. Donations have helped us get Harvey on the road to recovery. 11-6-2020: I was contacted about a Setter in a shelter in Southern Illinois the end of October. Thanks to my old rescue friend Kathy, we got Harvey on a transport to Chicago on 11-5. I thought perhaps he was a senior in the first photos I saw of him and I knew he was thin. Upon arrival hew was weak, emaciated and defeated looking. Thankfully my vet had booked an appointment for us with his arrival and started him on IV fluids right away. They also shaved off most of the terrible matting all over his body. Harvey was also covered in fleas and he had a very low heart beat called Bradycardia. Dr. John and I both agreed we would be shocked if he didn't have heart-worms. After his blood was drawn and a B12 injection, Harvey and I headed home for his spa treatment. After the flea shampoo, I got him started on intestinal dewormer and gave him a good meal that also included heartguard and antibiotics. He ate very well thankfully. Blood work the next day showed he was indeed heartworm positive and he also had hookworms and had elevated white blood cells, neutrophils and lymphocytes-- his immune system was fighting for him. The next morning Harvey was feeling so much better. He was holding his head up and his eyes weren't so sunken in. He continued to eat better and also stated trotting around my yard. Later that morning he moved to foster care and spent the weekend at their lake home with more TLC and lots more food. Harvey is currently being treated with our heart-worm slow kill program and we will take our time building him up before he is neutered. He came in weighing 37lbs and needs to gain at least 15-20lbs. We aren't sure of his age- but estimate he could be 10- 12 years old and is partially deaf. I will add new updates as they come in.
2-2021: Oliver continues to do well in foster care. He is now cage and house trained and is doing amazingly well with heartworm slow kill. We are still looking for the perfect Foster to Adopt home.
11-21-2020: Please meet Oliver- IBR rescue #1403 :) He is our new handsome black and white Pointer coming to us via the Newton County AC in Morocco, Indiana. He was found as a stray and was nearly starved. He is in a loving foster home starting on some good meals 3X's a day plus hearguard, panacur wormer and antibiotics in case he has underlying tick borne disease. He will be having blood work soon. Oliver is a sweet dog with lots of personality and it doesn't seem that he has suffered much abuse as he wasn't fearful of his new foster mom or dad or me. He is great with other dogs but has never been in a home and will need work on cage and house training. He will be neutered in a month once he gains weight and also in case of the tick borne disease and heartworms.
In the summer of 2020, a very handsome tri-color and white field bred English Setter Nick came into IBR's program. He was fostered by a wonderful family that also have a side business called DRIFT ROASTERS and they have come up with a special fundraising coffee called BIRDDOG BLEND. A small portion of every sale of Birddog Blend coffee will be donated to Illinois Birddog Rescue. It is available in whole bean or medium roast. It smells amazing!!! Thanks to the Tanzer family for their thoughtfulness in helping IBR and also for their care of Nick who did find a wonderful forever home.
How about a fun mug to go with your Bird Dog Blend coffee? My hope is to sell a few to help with the care of our senior dog population. I think it's super fun and the watermark is not on the uploaded image. You can order your mug HERE.
Update January 2021: after 5 short months in our care, Bailey was diagnosed with spleen cancer and had to be humanely let go. Her adoring foster mom Maggie was with her when she passed and we are grateful for that.
Bailey is a partially blind 11+ year old Pointer that was found as a stray in early August from Indiana. When her owner was found he didn't even notice she was gone for 2 days. He was happy to surrender her to the local shelter because he stated he couldn't hunt over her anyways. After we pulled her from the shelter, we were able to get some blood work done and she has low white blood and red blood cells. She also has the start of kidney disease. We are treating her for suspected Lyme disease and no doubt that has contributed to her health issues and blindness. Bailey hadn't been to a vet in years and we also did a heart worm test which was thankfully negative and she also needed all her vaccinations to cross state lines. On Saturday, August 8th, with the help of many thoughtful volunteers, Bailey was transported via car and plane to Minnesota. She was a bit nervous at first but is adjusting to life indoors. She has to learn to use some stairs but while she is a bit afraid, she is still wagging her tail and thankfully she is eating well. Bailey's initial vetting expenses are over $400 and we anticipate she may have additional expenses as we look into a dental and proactive x-rays. We appreciated any support you can give our new senior gal.
Please meet Hoss- he is a 9+ year old Lemon Pointer that was dumped at a southern Illinois Shelter the week of June 15th. He is partially blind and has some storm anxiety but thankfully is doing well in his new foster home. He's probably never been indoors in his life. Besides his blindness, he also has worn down teeth and sadly a grade 3.5 out of 6 heart murmur. We are waiting for his blood results but can assume he has Lyme disease and at least Rocky Mountain spotted fever and we are treating him proactively with our vet's blessing. I did speak to his old owner and he bought Hoss 2 years ago and he already was blind in one eye, but he did hunt over him in the fall. While he wasn't gun shy, fireworks would cause him to have some PTSD and my guess is someone thought that would be a good way to help him not be gun-shy. He hasn't shown any terrible anxiety in his foster home and he is wearing a Thunder Shirt just in case during storms and with the 4th of July coming up. So far he is happy as a clam and content to lay in his cage listening to classical music. If he does have Lyme disease, which can also cause anxiety, treating that will help too. We hope to find him a new loving home and hope we can get some more support for his care.
UPDATE 7-3-2020: As suspected, Hoss is indeed positive for Lyme disease. Thank goodness we found it and with long term antibiotics, he should be feeling a lot better. The damage is done however, but we are hopeful we can find a loving home for him for his golden years. At least his other eye is protected and my hope is the heart murmur won't get any worse. We have had dogs with Lyme disease and similar issues live into their teens.
Is your dog cold? We have some new dogs coats to help keep your dog warm in the colder months.
Fleece Snuggler: The Snuggler Coat is a lined plush fleece that is soft and snuggly. The front is sewn closed to make it easy to put on and take off. Contoured haunches give a custom fit. The fleece belly flap secures on one side with Velcro. It's simple and functional design make this such a great coat for the dog on the go!
It's been 2.5 years since I heard about Olivia's need for rescue from an over crowded shelter in North Carolina. She's come a long way from that sickly emaciated Setter with the terrible skin infections and mange and fighting Heartworms and at least 3 tick borne diseases. She has become a first class squirrel hunter and bed hog and sometimes I have to cut matting out of all that hair! She also has feathers on all her feet much like a Clydesdale! I never had a doubt that when I saw her first photos that I could help her recover because of IBR's Heartworm Slow Kill program and also because of our education into long term tick borne disease treatment. She is a special girl and will be doing adoption events and she is so very sweet with everyone she meets.
Recent blood work in April of 2020 shows Olivia is still fighting her 3 tick borne diseases- Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. I have tried the past 2 years to give her a break from her antibiotics, but she starts to shut down. I am glad she is still with me as I too struggle with chronic tick borne disease and need to be retreated throughout the year and understand the issue of chronic disease more than most- vets especially. My hope is to help Olivia live a good long life in spite of her struggles.
Olivia's recovery has been going very well. Every day I look at her and see a totally different dog that came into my care February 19th, 2018. I am not a vet, but I know what I know- especially about how to help a dog recover from mange and heartworm disease complicated by tick borne disease. Everything I have learned helping dogs recover while a foster mom for Illinois Birddog Rescue, I poured into Olivia's care- this started in the beginning with getting our wonderful vet Dr. John Rimkunas to do her CBC/Chem and Tick Panel done. While Olivia's 3DX snap test in North Carolina showed Ehrlichia, I knew she was at risk for more and the Immuno Fluorescence Assay (IDEXX #371 IFA) serology showed not only Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. She was a sick camper!!!! Her treatment included doxycycline and cipro in the am and doxycycline and clindamycin in the pm. These antibiotics worked to help with the tick borne disease, the skin infection caused by the mange and also weaken the adult heartworms. Olivia also was given Heartguard twice a month to kill the heartworm larvae and besides every other day medicated shampoos, she wore a Preventic collar. This aggressive treatment helped her skin heal, and it was amazing how quickly her hair started to grow back. As her blood work showed anemia from the tick borne diseases, Olivia's energy level also started to increase. As she also had some bladder control issues, that also got better.
As of this writing in early July, 2018, Olivia has 100% of her hair growing back and it is so soft and she has so many spots!! The cost to help a dog like Olivia would have been in the thousands with all the vetting appointments, but I came up with a plan and fundraised for supplies and helped her on my own.
Olivia's health care plan going forward is the continue the Heartworm Slow Kill program and manage her tick borne diseases by rotating antibiotics. She many not be clear of the worms for another year plus and as the tick borne diseases are not curable, she'll always need to be medicated, especially being a senior. We are due for new blood work soon and I am sure Dr. John will be pleasantly surprised at her progress.
With all the new Setters in need of medical help and nearly 100% of them fighting tick borne disease, we really need a lot of help with donations. Want to be a Setter Sponsor? Please visit our SETTER SPONSORS FUNDRAISING PAGE. Any donation no matter what size would be appreciated. Would you consider a monthly donation to help a dog like Olivia or one of our other seniors? Take a look at our monthly sponsorship program.
Most every fundraising app takes a big percentage of the donation- up to 7% and added processing fees. Chase QuickPay by Zelle transfers donations without any fees and the transfer is automatic. If your bank has Zelle transfers- you can sign up with their app. Transfers can be done using IBR's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
I have been in Pointer/Setter rescue for over 18 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.
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.
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 .
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.
View the new Powerpoint slideshow showcasing our rescue
legacy from the first nine years.
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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.