Welcome to Illinois Birddog Rescue's Have A Heart 3 Calendar contest. This contest is dedicated to all the dogs we bring into the program that are struggling with heartworms and also tick-borne disease. Each year we bring in many dogs that need extra care due to neglect and this year was no exception. As I was working on the 2018 calendars last December- we were working hard to bring in 3 Lemon Pointers from Kentucky-Holly, Eddie and Queen Victoria - a mother and her older pups all heartworm positive and fighting tick borne disease. We thought we were going to lose Victoria this spring, but she rallied and is a fighter and doing much better even though she lost most of her teeth and has cancer besides. In January we brought in handsome Kyle from southern Illinois and he was so sickly and then came February when I saw photos of Olivia, an English Setter struggling with mange besides her heartworms on death row in North Carolina. Adorable Pointer Tucker and German Shorthair Pointer Dewberry came in a few months later- both from southern Illinois- both so thin and also fighting heartworms and tick-borne disease. In July, we heard about Gloriosa - a Pointer mix that was covered in ticks when she came to the shelter in North Carolina. Further X-rays revealed that she has a shattered hip bone, a possible bullet in her arm pit and will need surgery once she is strong enough.
Funds raised from Have A Heart 3 will help us with the continued care of these dogs and many of the dogs in our program fighting tick borne disease. Cost to help any of these dogs can be in the hundreds and hip surgery will be close to $1,000 besides. In the past few contests- we have had many amazing photo submissions and are so grateful for the support. As this is our 15th year as an official 501c3 Charity- I set our goal at $15,000 with the hopes that we can reach that amount and help so many more dogs. We’ve come close to our $10,000 goal the last 2 years- so we will need as much help as we can get to reach this lofty new goal.
10-03-2018: In early October, we were contacted about a pretty little Lemon and White Pointer that was in an over- crowded shelter in Western, Tennessee. Apparently there is a Pointer breeder that routinely dumps his dogs at this rural shelter. While I was working on getting Debbie's vetting scheduled so that she could travel, the shelter volunteer called me and said the breeder just dropped off another. Morwenna aka Winnie, is the name is from the Poldark series on PBS Masterpiece (also on several streaming services). Morwenna is a Welsh name meaning "waves of the sea". We discovered a 71 tattooed into Debbie's ear and have to wonder was she the 71st puppy borne to this breeder? She has suffered some abuse, and you can see every rib and hip bone and was very timid upon arrival but her first and second foster moms are doing their best to help build her confidence. She LOVES other dogs and when she is not afraid is hilarious when she plays. Like Debbie, Morwenna aka Winnie has a tattoo in her ear that reads M71. Both girls have suffered neglect and I am sure some very cruel training. Winnie was very timid the short time I had her and she is doing better building her confidence in foster care in Wisconsin. Both girls do so much better with other dogs than people but we are working hard to build their trust.
Our vet was happy to do blood work on both girls and as we proactively treat every incoming dog for suspicion of tick borne disease, Debbie tested positive for Lyme disease and Morwenna tested positive for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. We can assume both girls have the same diseases and their Complete Blood Counts and Chemistries did show some irregularities consistent with tick borne infections. Thankfully Dr. John understands how to treat these dogs long term- having an adopted infected Pointer himself. Both girls will need adopters that will repeat their blood work annually so that they can live well into their teens. We can sure use some help with their vetting bills.
10-18-2018: Look at this poor sweet ol guy- he has suffered terrible neglect. Thankfully we found a temp foster home and Erin was able to pull him out of the shelter today. He was dumped in Morocco, Indiana so we'll need some Hoosier help!!! Dr. John had an opening this afternoon and Bernie was dehydrated and is being treated for eye and ear infections. He has a serious heart murmur and seemed feverish to me when I met him. He has started on heartworm slow kill just in case and the antibiotics will surely help. It looks like he suffered an injury to the right side of his face. He needs a lot of TLC and his vet bill was $289 so we can sure use some help with his care.
Jasia and her niece Dixie and 2 other beagles were surrendered to a shelter in Michigan when their owner had to go to assisted living. Two of the 4 have found homes and one of my soft hearted adopters and foster moms wanted to help the last 2. From vetting records I found, Jasia was born on 10-13-05 and is 13 years old. Dixie was born on 08-09-07 so she is 11 years old. One of my beagle foster moms wanted to help so thanks to Pilot N Paws friends Oliver and Kris- the girls were flown from the Shelter to the Chicago Suburbs on 10-21.
We don't often hear the story behind some of the rescues we bring in- but here is their story from a former caretaker, "Dominic- the owner of Dixie and Jasia bred beagles years ago. I met him through my job in the shelter in Michigan. He was a huge animal lover with 10 beagles, 3 cats, ducks, chickens, guinea hens and this awful goose who would chase me! He also fed the deer, turkeys and wild geese. He had surgery and I went out every day to care for the dogs. It was supposed to be an 8-week job which turned into 18 months. I grew very close to him as well as his dogs. About 4 months in his partner passed away and he was left on his own. He has no children, a sister with dementia and a brother who lived an hour away but not in the best health himself. One dog, Sassy, ran away during a vet trip and we were devastated. My boss found her 41 days later and she was very thin. He cried and cried. She lived another 18 months after that. The only thing he was ever worried about was if he died that they would be cared for. My boss and I told him we would do everything we could. Many passed away due to old age. They had a wonderful kennel set up with heated houses and big runs with a big fenced in outside area to run. Jasia would never let me touch her but Dixie was my favorite from the beginning. I wanted to keep her so badly, but I have 5 dogs, 12 cats, 10 rabbits, 3 kids and a loud life that would have been very stressful for them. Along with 20-30 foster cats at my house at any given time. I take in many special need cats as well as orphan bottle kittens. When Dominic got put into the home we just got slammed with a huge hoarding case which maxed us past capacity with some dogs in seriously bad health. Iosco shelter was a life saver with helping us out. I cried when we had to send them because I wanted to be the one to care for them and adopt them out. My boss made that decision and I couldn’t do much about it, but I see it’s definitely worked out well for them. I plan on printing up some of the pics they sent me and taking them to Dominic at the home. He would always tear up when he’d talk about what would happen to them after he was gone. His animals meant the world to him. Honestly there were times he would go without, so they could get the vet care they needed. It’s been a hard situation all the way around. Thank you for caring for them. It will mean so much to him knowing they are safe and loved."
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, 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: email@example.com
Sadie is our recent Kentucky Beagle rescue from death row. She is so sweet but has a lot of complicated health issues including rotten teeth and some mammary masses. Sadie also came in with a double ear infection and an eye tearing issue with her right eye that she is being treated for. Her obligatory blood work shows low thyroid and she is also infected with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. We will build her up for many weeks and get her ready for surgery in mid to late September, but we'll need a lot of donations to help her get better.
Sadie's Recovery Facebook Album
Gloriosa is a Setter/Labrador mix that was in danger of being put to sleep in an over- crowded shelter in North Carolina. She was covered in ticks upon arrival and had some infected skin from fleas. She also has heartworms and I am sure once we get blood work done we will find several tick borne diseases. As she had some walking difficulty- initial x-rays show a shattered hip and it looks like there could also be bullet fragments in her arm pit area. Glori has lived a neglected life and also has broken teeth and missing teeth and is at least 10lbs underweight. Thankfully we found a wonderful foster home with Lauren and Eric who also promote Lyme Warriors as both -- like me and most of the IBR dogs have struggled with Lyme disease infections. They are doing their best to build Miss Glori up to get her ready for hip surgery in a couple of months. She looks very happy and is getting stronger every day. We hope you can see how special she is and help us help her get better. She has so much going on and such a long way to go- but we are hopeful that we can help her live a great quality of life filled with love and compassion and pain free!! Any size donation no matter what size would be appreciated.
Glori's Recovery Facebook Album
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!
Nylon Turn Out : The Plaid Turnout comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, many imported from Italy. Same quality three-layer construction as the Nylon Turnout but with a soft, non-water repellent outer shell, suitable for the most active dog. Measure your dog from the base of the neck to the tail for coat size in either 22" or 24".
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.