Vector Borne Disease Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention & Education - 1514 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

Three New Dogs With Lyme Disease Need Your Help!


We have 3 new dogs in our program-- English Setter-Alivia , Pointer-Xuma and Beagle puppy- Marigold. All 3 girls, sadly tested positive for Lyme disease. Alivia had bleeding gums upon arrival from a shelter in southern Illinois. She was dumped because she wouldn't hunt. Alivia moved to Foster to Adopt upon arrival to a family that recently lost their last IBR adopted English Setter and she is helping them mend their broken hearts.

Xuma, (pronounced Zuma), is a petite Pointer originally from Canada, bred from French Pointer lines. She was purchased 4 years ago by a man in the northern suburbs, who surrendered her to the rescue in June. She lived a life outdoors and had a history of being hit by a car. She has some mobility issues and some lameness in her back end, but she has been going to the local doggie chiropractor and she seems a lot better. Xuma also came in with sores all over her body and she also had intestinal parasites. Xuma also has a bad underbite and she also needs a dental. She is a joyful sweet Pointer and is doing great in foster care. She has tons of personality.

Little Marigold came into our program the last week in July. She was going to be put to sleep when Animal Control was running out of options because they could not find a rescue to help her locally. My vet called me as she was found in his town and we luckily found her a foster home quickly. Marigold is only 12lbs and she is a sickly camper due to her Lyme disease infection. She was also loaded with worms and we think she may have a growth spurt now that we are addressing her health issues. Marigold also has something called Cherry Eye-- inflammation in the third eyelid and she will need surgery to help that get better.

Vetting expenses add up quickly when we bring in new dogs with health issues. Bloodwork and vaccinations cost $350 each. Spays will be $90 each and dentals for Alivia and Xuma will cost approximately $200 each. Cherry eye surgery for Marigold will cost $150 and each chiropractic adjustment for Xuma is $50. Additional medication for Lyme disease treatment will cost approximately $200 each dog to start. We could sure use some donations to help with their care!

IBR's Once Upon A Time JH

Cinders' Had A Great Field Trial Season for 2022- More Success in 2023!!

Much thanks to the TEAM CINDERS sponsors-- we made it to Dillwyn, Virginia for the Hudson English Setter Club's Field Trial October 22nd and 23rd. While there weren't enough puppies to run in Open Walking Puppy, Cinders did a great job to win Open Walking Derby. On Monday, October 24th, she also won Open Walking Derby in the English Setter Association of America's Field Trial. We got to run on the Gun Dog course which was hilly, wooded, had nice long tree lines and was so much fun for this puppy!!!! Cinders had a good forward run from the get go-- ran hard, was snappy and fast. She had FIVE bird finds with good points until the birds were flushed. She also ran hard until the end of her brace and was a little brat about being picked up when the judges called time. I am blown away on how Cinders has just figured this all out since our first trial and her first exposure to quail in September. She's so confident and bold and just a pleasure to walk behind. With both her Derby wins, she has 2 points towards her Field Championship.

We entered a few more trials in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri in November and December and Cinders' continued to do well, gaining more confidence, getting stronger inspite of her newly diagnosed Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. She finished 2022 with several placements including 3 Open Derby wins and 2 Open Puppy wins. We hope to enter a few more trials in 2023, but I am so beyond proud and overjoyed with how this little miracle puppy has done since she came into IBR's program.

UPDATE 2023: Cinders won Amateur Walking Derby at the English Setter Association's Walking Field Trial the end of January. She also took second place in Open Walking Derby. The course at the Munroc private grounds near Lexington, KY are set in the woods and Cinders ran 2 very strong races and held point beautifully on several birds.

In early March, we went down to Moraine View in Le Roy, IL and ran at the Heart of Illinois Brittany Club's Walking Field trial. I am happy to report she was the only non- Brittany to place in Open Derby with a third place finish. At this trial, Cinders also showed that she has some natural backing skills.

In April, Cinders ran at LaSalle Brittany and WON a 10 dog Amateur Walking Derby stake with 5 finds and a beautiful honor. I was so proud of my girl!! Now it's time for my baby to mature and more serious training. I really hope we can get to the point of running in Open Gun Dog in the future!!

On September 13th, 2022. Cinders turned a year old. She's had her ups and downs since she came into our program as a breeder surrender- due to her spine defect. We had no idea what the future would hold for this precious puppy, but the idea of running her in field competitions was not anything I could have dreamed of. She has shown in the past few months- that in spite of her birth defect, she has a desire to hunt and she also has a great nose for upland birds. Last December, she was dragging her back legs due to her neck being out of alignment- but chiropractic care every 5-6 weeks had helped her become stronger and has also helped her grow properly. I had actually bought wheels for her because I thought she might not be able to walk or run. As she was also infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever from her mama, she's also fought hard to get that disease under control.

We did not get papers for her when she came into Illinois Birddog Rescue's program, but when she started sight pointing birds in the Spring, I had a wild idea to see if I could get her breeder to give them to me so I could enter her in field events in the fall. Thankfully he agreed, and after I got her registered with the Field Dog Stud Book, I pursued getting her dual registered with the American Kennel Club. That proved to be difficult as her FDSB papers were delayed several weeks and the AKC stopped taking those papers in July 2022, and her papers arrived the middle of July. I was contacted in late July that her papers arrived too late, but I pleaded with the AKC, especially due to the FDSB/UKC 5 week backlog and my persistence paid off and she was granted her papers. Most of the trialing I wanted to do was AKC, so I was thrilled with the opportunity we were given.

We have done some work in the field and she has had some training off leash at the local dog parks, and given the opportunity she will hunt independently, but she also has a really nice recall off leash. I was not worried about letting her go at an event. Next step was to get her on birds and we were able to get some pheasant in July. It didn't take her long for her natural instincts to come out and the picture above was taken after she scent pointing her 6th bird in a row. She was ready!! We entered an AKC field trial the middle of September and while she didn't place, she did learn about judges on horses and she sight pointed her first quail. The following weekend she was entered into an AKC Hunt test and she scent pointed many quail in the bird field and passed 3 out of 4 attempts in Junior Hunter.

I haven't campaigned a rescue dog in over 10 years. I never thought I would be gifted with such a special pup, that would help promote English Setter rescue, but Cinders' recovery is a miracle . With that in mind, Cinders and I need some special sponsors to help us in the next few weeks. She is entered in another AKC hunt test and with 1 more qualifier- she could finish her Junior Hunter title. After that we will be field trialing and the last 2 will be in Virginia and these will be especially fun because she will be competing against other Setters, and only English Setters at the English Setter Association of America's trial on October 24th. There will be a lot of costs associated with helping us on our quest and I have created 3 wine labels with the help of Windsor Vineyards. The varietals include a Brut Sparking wine which will be perfect for upcoming celebrations and gift giving. There are 6 other wines available including 3 reds and 3 whites. Additionally, I have come up with a shopping list of travel and entry expenses if you would like to help with that too. As we have so many Setters in the program that have complicated health problems-- much of this fundraiser will help with the care of those special dogs too. Here is Cinders' original Cinders' GOFUNDME as we would appreciate any donation to help with her continued care.

Cinders- Our Baby Setter With Serious Birth Defect (Original Post 11-21)

Cinder's Recovery Page

Please meet 10 week old orange and white American Field bred English Setter- Cinders. She is an Indiana breeder/ field trialer owner surrender because has a strange lump in her back. In foster care, we had xrays done that showed an issue with one of her vertebrae. It was also suggested by the breeder that if my rescue didn't have the resources to help her, he would explore other options for her so we acted quickly. We have gotten 3 puppies from this breeder the past few years, the last 2 both had Lyme disease and one had hip dysplasia that needed surgery. Cinders is on doxycycline in case she is also infected from her mother. I sent the xray to an orthopedic friend in the area and he felt it was a congenital birth defect and was surprised to read she can walk and run but the concern is what happens when she grows and when the soft bones harden when she becomes an adult.

His suggestion was to take her to a neurologist and we were also told that chiropractic care and perhaps water tread mill therapy would be a good idea. This is all new territory for us since so much about her care but will do the best we can to keep her from having any nerve damage or paralysis. She is a brilliant puppy in spite of her birth defect. She already comes when called and is stalking the dogs in her foster home. We are hopeful for her future and we hope we can get some funding for her care.




In early June I was contacted about taking in 7 English Setters from living a life of misery in southern Illinois. Their owner was very ill and they needed help. As the pictures started coming in, I knew I had to line up foster homes fast. Many were tied up with chains and a few others were confined to cages above ground where they had to pee and defecate over the bars. On June 11th, the first 3 girls came on transport, and they were all in rough shape-- very thin, dirty; and one Mamasita had a terrible wound on her front left leg and 2 huge mammary masses besides an eye infection. All of the dogs were a bit reactive and stressed. I immediately took them to my vet and we did bloodwork which included a Complete Blood Count and Chemistry, tick serology and 4DX snap test. They were all updated on their vaccinations too. Sadly all three girls-- Mamsita, Gracie and Liz Beth were heartworm positive. Unfortunately, all 3 also tested positive for Lyme disease. So we started them in our heartworm slow kill treatment plan, which also includes antibiotics to help with the Lyme disease. On June 18th, Grimm and Dorothea came up on transport and also got their vetting updated. Both are also infected with heartworms and Lyme diseases. Both also started in our heartworm slow kill program. These dogs lived secluded lives, and everything was new to them. Mamasita-- especially was very irritable, was very reactive to any dogs coming near her and some of the other dogs were a little snarky. Our foster homes hung in there, and after several weeks of antibiotics, most of the aggression is gone, and their true sweet personalities are coming through. ALL of Mamasita's crabbiness is gone-- she is feeling so much better. It's gratifying to see them all starting to feel better. Her natural instincts are also beginning to kick in as she started pointing.

Sadly, Mamasita's recovery is going to be complicated. First, she needs to be strong enough for surgery, especially with the heartworm and Lyme diagnosis. We will be doing chest x-rays hoping that the cancer has not metastasized anywhere else in her body. Second, it will take months or even more than a year for her to test negative for heartworms. Third, Lyme disease is not curable but manageable, and once she gets through the significant parts of her treatment plan, I will need to find a thoughtful adopter that will give her the best care for the rest of her life. The vetting expenses to help 1 of these special dogs will be over $1,000 each. Mamasita's expenses will be much more with the mammary surgery and x-rays. We need a lot of help with fundraising to help these dogs recover so we can continue to help so many more in need. Thanks, Lisa

Mamasita's Recovery Page


Gracie's Recovery Page


Liz Beth's Recovery Page


Grimm's Recovery Page


Dorothea's Recovery Page

UPDATE/ September: We were able to bring in 6 out of the 7 Setters by August. All are now receiving care in our heartworm slow kill program. The last is being cared for by their former owner's son. Going into treatment month #3, the original 6 are doing well. Mamasita is a month post her mammary surgery and what a relief that is over. Only 1 of the 6- Gracie is in Foster to Adopt. I am hopeful we can find new homes for the other 5 in the next few weeks. They are ALL grateful to be living indoors and have adjusted so well-- especially with house training and enjoying being loved on and cuddles. We still need a lot of support via donations for their care.

Drift Roasters- Birddog Blend Coffee Fundraiser

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.

From Pam- IBR adopter, "My kitchen smells amazing! My Bird-Dog Blend arrived a few days ago!!"

IBR's 20th Anniversary Fundraising Mug

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.

Olivia-- My Special North Carolina Rescue

It's been 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 2022 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 Facebook Album

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.

Sponsor a pet in our program.

Donate with QuickPay with Chase by Zelle

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:

The Lyme Quant C6/4DX Snap VS the IDEXX IFA Serology

The past 15 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.

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

When I was bit and infected with Lyme disease over 21 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.

Rescue Pointer Brady-- VINDICATED!!

***This is an older story-- but a very good story***

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

***My sweet Gavin turned 12 in 2022-- but he is hanging in there.***

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.

SLOW KILL Heartworm Treatment- A Safer Option

I have been in Pointer/Setter rescue for over 20 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.

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.


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.**

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