The Star, May 30, 1999
Veterinarian clinic offers rehabilitation for dogs, cats
The TOPS Veterinary Rehabilitation Clinic in Grayslake, which opened in September 1998, offers a variety of rehabilitative procedures for dogs and cats that have undergone surgery, had an injury or suffer from arthritis. The veterinarians at the clinic primarily treat animals with neck, hip or back problems.
Veterinarian Laurie McCauley, who founded the clinic, said she became interested in the rehabilitation of dogs and cats after practicing traditional veterinary medicine for six years.
McCauley currently runs the clinic single-handedly but will soon have help from another veterinarian, Michelle Herlihy, who will also perform acupuncture on the animals, which is not yet offered at the clinic.
McCauley said the animals she treats are taken only on a referral basis from other veterinarians because she needs each animal's history before performing rehabilitation procedures.
Referrals come to McCauley from vets all over Illinois, including at least one in the southern suburbs, she said.
McCauley said she and Alex Rothacker, who founded the TOPS boarding, training and wellness facility in the same building as the rehabilitation clinic, came up with the idea of a rehabilitation clinic.
In order to learn the various procedures she uses at the clinic, McCauley spent a month in Denver, Colo. learning from Veterinarian Robert Taylor from the television show "Emergency Vets" on the Animal Planet Channel.
McCauley said she uses a variety of procedures on her approximately 70 patients, depending on the needs of the animals.
Some of the procedures McCauley uses include passive range of motion therapy, treadmill therapy, hydrotherapy, ultrasound therapy, cryotherapy, heat therapy, neuromuscular stimulation, massage, acupuncture and chiropractic therapy.
McCauley said she uses the procedures on the animals to improve joint mobility, develop muscles after surgery and manage the animals' pain.
McCauley also uses a therapy pool with an underwater treadmill to monitor the animals' movement, which is the first of its kind in the U.S.
The treadmill therapy is geared to use on dogs and helps them exercise their muscles in a weightless water environment.
McCauley is quick to point out that the procedures she uses are not a replacement for surgery. She said some of the animals who come to her clinic are animals that have had unsuccessful surgery.
"When animals get surgery that is supposed to be 98 percent effective, I see the 2 percent it didn't work on," she said.
Since McCauley shares the building with the wellness facility, her patients often head there to continue physical training after being rehabilitated.
Dogs and cats who stay at the clinic while being rehabilitated are made right at home in the luxury facilities.
The facility offers "senior suites, which are 4-by-4-by-4 areas for the animals to stay in. Also offered are luxury suites," which are actual rooms with a television, window, VCR and a toy basket.
McCauley said the amount of visits animals make to the clinic depends on the type of rehabilitation procedure being done on them.
"Some animals come to me and I show the owners how to rehabilitate them," she said. "Some I see 10 times, others I see for a few months."
McCauley said she enjoys seeing the animals she treats following their rehabilitation.
"It's so cool to watch it happen," she said.
The field of animal rehabilitation is growing throughout the U.S. Facilities will be opened in Milwaukee and Downers Grove in the next few years and other facilities are also in the works.