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Any challenge is Accepted
Sian Johnston has been consulting on my American Bulldog since February 2018 and the journey we’ve had is a remarkable one.
On the 19th January, Bisquit underwent an operation for a suspected mammary tumour (which proved benign.) She is an extremely large dog, 55 kilogrammes in weight, and after the surgery she presented as lame and could not walk.
The veterinary surgeon could not ascertain the cause, and after taking X-Rays referred me to a specialist. The specialist also could not determine the cause and noted that Bisquit would need to lose weight prior to exploratory surgery.
By this stage I was at my wit’s end, with no clear diagnosis, and a very poor prognosis indeed. I was left with the suspicion that she might have injured her left cruciate ligament during surgery, as she had injured this some 2 years previously, which healed after the use of a custom made brace.
I then called Sian, after findings her details online
Bisquit by this stage was in severe distress, being managed with pain medication, anti-inflammatories and Pentosan. (Prescribed by my local veterinarian, who also confirmed that Bisquit might have torn her cruciate ligament.)
Bisquit by this stage could not walk and was crying with pain whenever she tried to do so.
Sian willingly accepted the challenge to attempt to rehabilitate Bisquit and has been working with her ever since. Administering massage, ultrasound and light therapy; first on a weekly basis, and currently bi-monthly she attends to Bisquit at my home. Sian drives a fair distance to see Bisquit, who would have been unable to be transported for regular treatment due to her size and extent of her injury.
It is a testimony to Sian’s skill, professionalism and compassion that Bisquit now is walking without pain. She is getting stronger every day and has also lost a considerable amount of weight.
In my opinion Sian has turned a very serious situation around. I find her empathetic, understanding, extremely knowledgeable and highly competent as a veterinary physiotherapist.
In short, she has saved Bisquit’s life and I have no hesitation in recommending her services whatsoever.
There is hope in even the Toughest Case
My 7 year old White Shepard mix “Vigil” tore her cruciate on the one leg and her ACL on the other in November 2017.
After taking her to the vet we knew a long and hard road lay ahead of us. With 2 surgeries to face, as well as the recovery time required, including keeping her in confinement after each surgery.
I promptly moved from having an external office to working from home so that I could care for her. We were fortunate enough to have an exceptional vet who not only did great work, but also put us in touch with a specialist physio he knew named Sian Johnston.
Directly after her first knee op on 1 Dec 2017, I called Sian and we made our first appointment. I knew how going to a human physio had me me in the past, and our vet strongly recommended it for Vigil. After a few sessions, I can say, without reservation, that an animal physio is someone of immense value to those they treat.
Sian has been as dedicated as us on the long journey to getting Vigil strong and active again.
Due to the weeks of confinement between surgeries and her restricted movement, Vigil had both the knee joint issues as well as muscle atrophy. Sian quickly managed to gain the trust of a dog in a lot of pain and was able to patiently work with her. She continued until she was comfortable having all the treatments she needed for mobility, strength and pain relief.
Sian also gave us “homework” to do after each session and was able to gently teach us how to help Vigil. Months have gone by and I am thrilled to say I have a happy healthy dog, able to run around and get up to her usual mischief. I am more than happy to recommend Sian for her patience, her caring, and both her learned and her intuitive skills for healing and dealing with animals.
Miracles are Real
This is a letter of recommendation highest praise for Sian Johnston(Animal Physiotherapist).
These are the events following the treatment of my dog Sophie Kennedy.
She is a 12 year old, Golden English female Cocker Spaniel.
09 April 2017
- Sophie came down with onset paralysis.
- spoke to the vet – recommended Cortisone
10 April 2017
- Sophie was completely paralysed.
- The Specialist Vets — consensus diagnosis of Acute Idiopathic Polyradiculoneuritis.
- X-rays showed bones strong, slight degeneration of lower spine and wisps in chest of suspected phlegm.
- I administered home care from the 10th ” April onwards with Sophie on an airbed and expressing bladder .
- Had Fourways Vet on standby for intubation if necessary.
- Other therapists said it was hopeless and they had not seen a dog this paralysed and no amount of muscle stimulation was yielding any hope.
A friend who‘s dog had a spinal operation by the specialist vet recommended I contact Sian on 23 April.
As nothing was working and Sophie was losing muscle tone rapidly, I completed the case history form and emailed it to Sian.
Sian arrived for her first appointment to see Sophie and ascertain treatment.
Thereafter Sian treated Sophie at first once a week, then twice and occasionally three times a week as Sophie responded to the stimulation and nerve regeneration exercises. Sian made a list of several daily muscle stimulation and mental stimulation exercises for me to do with Sophie.
Sian never gave up on Sophie and eventually in early stage recovery, she would even try and wag her little stump of a tail when seeing her.
- During June, I had to travel internationally for ten days, during that time, Sian came to see Sophie almost every day and her encouragement and perseverance with Sophie was unwavering.
- Sophie by that time was rolling herself, still unable to get up or stand but her breathing was so much better and in herself, her strong personality was returning.
25 June 2017
- Sophie took her first independent steps again!
Today… over a year later, Sophie back to being her old self, an absolute joy!
It is without hesitation that I can highly recommend Sian Johnston for her unwavering commitment to her profession. Without her commitment to get Sophie back on all fours; both Sophie and I would not be where we are today.
Thinking outside the Box
Ya El Jedi Knight.
About two years ago my horse, Ya EL Jedi Knight did something in the paddock and the result is that he went lame in his hind quarters. I had x-rays taken and the vets found chips in his fetlock area. As he was being very difficult, no more exploratory work was done.
He was rested for 6 months and the slowly brought back to work. He was sound for a while but the problem surfaced again.
Sian Johnston then came to see him. She works as a veterinary physiotherapist. She also uses other techniques to help her in her work.
While she worked on Jedi, she explained each step and his reaction. He was very difficult in the first session. He would not stand still and barged through us on many occasions. Sian was persistent but extremely patient in what she was doing.
She is a knowledgeable person and leaves no stone unturned. She is an asset to the industry. The vets will give a diagnosis and Sian is able to interpret the information and then work with the problem areas so as to help rehabilitate the horse.
One week later she worked on him again. He responded extremely well. Sian’s work had had a positive effect and the horse has definitely improved.
Sian has done a few sessions of physio on Jedi and from a horse that was struggling with uneven gaits and lameness, she has been able to improve his movement and general comfort. Her ongoing interest and work on the horse has definitely made a difference.
A Solution at Last
Sian Johnston was recommended to me in 2014 by the yard vet as my competitive dressage stallion had marked muscular and flexibility unevenness.
This occurred despite consistent and correct schooling under the watchful eye of a level 2 dressage instructor. We even had a complete lameness work up by Glen Austin Equine Veterinarians with no reasons being found for these problems. The unevenness was marked enough that there was at least 1 mark difference between the dressage tests for the left and right rein with the same movement.
During the first consultation, Sian took a complete history of the horse and did her own assessment of his movement in walk, trot and canter, on a straight line, on the lunge, in a small circle, as well as under saddle. She carefully explained her findings to me and set up a treatment plan which I could implement myself between her checkups, which ordinally was every 6 weeks.
The treatment plan was progressive, consisting of static strengthening exercises, stretches, as well as in-hand and ridden exercises.
She took the time and showed me each exercise, helping me get comfortable with them in order to do them at home between visits. During this initial stage, she was regularly in contact, asking if I was managing, the response and wether I had any additional questions.
When I had questions, I could send her an email with a photo or video of whatever I was unsure of, and she replied within 24 hours. Within six months of the first consultation our marks have evened out and there was mostly no difference between the left and right rein for the same movement in a test and our marks had improved by about 3% consistently.
Once my horse had achieved an even muscle tone and his flexibility and limb awareness was at an appropriate level for his competitive level, Sian helped me maintain him.
For my horse, this meant a maintenance visit every three to six months, depending on his activity level.
He is a highly competitive horse needs to be very fit and strong enough to compete successfully. Sian helped me keep him soft and supple and this meant that we could train hard and correctly. She also supported me in keeping his training varied and is always willing to give me her opinion on fitness training for him as a dressage horse.
She was an important part of my team keeping my competitive horse healthy. Her role is as important as the roles of his vet, farrier, chiropractor, saddle fitter, and my instructor.
I moved to Cape Town in October 2017 and miss having Sian as an equine physiotherapist. I can also highly recommend her as a part of any equestrian team. Perfect to keep a happy hack feeling good, or keeping a highly competitive equine athlete at the on top.
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