Vector Borne Disease Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention & Education - 1419 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

Wessex- Another Senior Setter in Need


Wessex is a senior tri-color and white English Setter that recently came into our program with the help of Steve from Pilots N Paws. He has suffered some neglect, including being newly diagnosed with three tick-borne diseases. Upon arrival into our program, he suffered from two painful ear infections, and he is going to need a dental that will include removing a cracked back molar. The terrible effect of undiagnosed and untreated Lyme disease has also caused a heart murmur, but we are hopeful with antibiotics the condition will stabilize.

My best guess is that he is around eight years old and is in a great foster home where he is getting daily antibiotics and ear meds. Despite his health problems, he is as sweet as can be. He also loves being indoors and able to lay on soft dog beds. The cough he came in with also seems to be better as well as his runny eyes and nose. Initial blood work was over $500, and we know his dental surgery will also be expensive. Anytime we bring in a senior dog, we can expect high bills. We would love your support to help this sweet fella get the care he needs while also looking for the perfect forever home.

Wessex' Recovery Page

The Chocolate Litter

Chocolate Litter GOFUNDME

I was sent a link to some German Wirehair Pointer mix puppies on Craigslist at the end of January. I reached out to the person that listed the litter and asked if they would surrender the puppies to Illinois Birddog Rescue. It's dangerous for any dog or puppy to be listed on Craigslist for free, as so many of these animals get sold for research or are used for pitbull training bait. Thankfully we got the puppies moved to a short-term foster in St. Louis but were alarmed as none had any puppy vaccinations or wormer. We got them to the vet two days later for their 1st parvo/distemper vaccine, but a fecal on one of the puppies revealed a nasty intestinal parasite called hookworm. The next day, the puppies moved to a longer-term foster in the Chicago area and continued their Panacur wormer and started on proactive doxycycline just in case of any underlying tick-borne disease.

The puppies also had some bite wounds from each other, needed some oral cephalexin and topical medication, some had ear infections, and Fannie Mae has a displaced tooth under her tongue. The puppies were doing well, but on Sunday, February 20th, Godiva became lethargic, had some diarrhea and was vomiting. The biggest concern was if we were too late with their puppy vaccinations, and Godiva was breaking with parvovirus. We found an emergency vet and rushed her over. My worst nightmare-- a sick puppy on a Sunday night and emergency vet costs... The parvo test was thankfully negative, but we still had a sick puppy on our hands. She was given fluids, a Cerenia injection for nausea and some metronidazole to help with her upset tummy.

The next day Godiva went to see Dr. Rimkunas at Homestead Animal Hospital as she still was a little weak. She was given more fluids and Cerenia, and she was to continue her Metronidazole. We also got new fecals for her and sister Fannie Mae to see if that offered some answers. ARRGGGHHH both puppies were infected with protozoa called Giardia. We could also assume the whole litter was infected as they may have had it when they came in from Missouri, and the first fecal missed it. Usually, Panacur helps treat Giardia- but the whole litter also needs to start on the Metronidazole. Giardiafest-- BOO!!!!!!

With the cost of ER bills, extra medication, and new blood work to start soon, our adoption donation for each puppy will not cover the cost of our expenses. It never does, especially as we assume every puppy we bring in may already be infected from an infected mother for tick-borne disease. Every litter we have ever brought in from Missouri has been infected, but because we test a few puppies and require lab work at 8 months old before spays and neuters, we catch most of it. As Dr. Rimkunas whelped a litter puppies from an infected beagle he eventually adopted- he is supportive of our extra efforts to help our litters get the best care before adoption.

As frustrating as the hookworms and Giardia is, we are relieved we are not dealing with parvovirus and puppies fighting for their lives. No one wants to adopt a sick puppy- but we are doing our best to help these babies get better and find loving forever homes. All of this extra care adds up fast, so we would like to see if we can get some support from the IBR family for this precious litter because we have a lot of dogs and puppies in our program that also need expensive vetting care.

Chocoate Litter on Facebook

Four New Pointers Need Your Help!

Four New Pointers' GOFUNDME

In November, I was contacted about a Lemon Pointer that was in danger of being put to sleep in an overcrowded shelter near Champaign, IL. We made arrangements for Joshua to come into our program and were very dismayed at his condition-- skin and bones and sadly infected with Lyme disease. Joshua's Recovery Page

At the beginning of January, I was contacted about two more Lemon Pointers in Southern Illinois that were also in danger of being put to sleep in an overcrowded shelter. We scrambled to find foster homes and were able to fly Tim, aka Quick Draw McGraw and Faith, into our program a few days later. The story was both dogs were rescued by a man in Illinois from another man in Kentucky that was starving them. Then when he was done, he dumped them in the local shelter. Tim and Faith were very thin and have been treated for roundworms. Sadly both also have tick-borne disease. Tim- especially is such a fun Pointer pup. Our vet aged him at 3-4 years old, but he acts like a puppy. He is the sweetest and is doing so well in his foster home. Tim and Faith's Recovery Page

Also, in January, I was contacted about a Pointer in need in Tennessee. Starbuck was part of a large Pointer/Breeder program and wasn't measuring up in competition. The breeder's kennels had also blown down in a December tornado. Starbuck flew to town mid-January and was also a bag of bones. He is being fed three meals a day and is starting to adjust to indoor living. He's also starting to show his silly Pointer personality. Starbuck's Recovery Page

Four New Pointers' GOFUNDME

Cinders- Our Baby Setter With Serious Birth Defect

Cinderella'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. The breeder couldn't be bothered with taking her to a vet, but 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. Since he didn't care to take her to a vet- my guess is she would have been killed by his hand. 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.


Kingsleigh- Another Sweet Senior Beagle With A Terrible Leg Injury

I had to flip the x-ray in photoshop to understand what was going on. Somehow his leg was jerked in such a way that it is sticking out the side. He's got to be in so much pain and there has to be so much joint, muscle and ligament damage. Maybe as things get better- that leg can be manipulated under anesthesia and put back to the right direction.

The horrible thing about his hip x-ray is that his leg has been jerked the wrong way. I wonder if someone tried grabbing him by the leg and pulled so hard that the hip slipped in the wrong direction. Dr. Rimkunas had him sedated for his x-rays but when they tried to manipulate that leg the pain caused him to wake up and scream. He is on pain meds now thank goodness. So much going on with this pup with inflammation everywhere and heart worms too.

Kingsleigh's GOFUNDME

Kingsleigh's Recovery Page

Kacey- A Sweet Beagle With A Terrible Leg Injury

On 11-2, I was texted a picture of a cute little Lemon Beagle that was found as a stray in Tennessee and was in the caretakers garage. She was going to go to the local over crowded shelter soon. We found a foster home and I reached out to a former adopter who now lives in TN and actually was not far from where this little beagle was. On 11-3, Julie picked her up and messaged me that she had a bad limp. She went to the vet on 11-4 and x-rays were devastating- a bad hip dislocation and a bad old break. The amount of pain this little dog must have been in at one time. On 11- 6 we were able to fly little 18lb Kacey to Illinois for foster care. She had her exam and blood work on 11-12 and after much discussion, we are going to have to amputate Kacey's back leg. She's a sweet little dog and she should do well as a tri- pod, but it's just another huge surgery we will need help with. We hope we can find some thoughtful folks to help us raise much needed funds for her care. It's been quite a year for dogs needing special surgeries.


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's Recovery is Going GREAT

It's been 3 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 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.

NEW!!! 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 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.

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.


When you shop you can pick IBR as the beneficiary of your purchase. If you would like to help-- 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.

SLOW KILL Heartworm Treatment- A Safer Option

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.

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.


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 .

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.

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