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Monkey's trip to the day spa Kate Davies | Sat, Apr 30 2011 12:00 PM

When Monkey came into Jenny Ludovissy's life two months ago he was roughly eight weeks old, homeless and had lost a paw to an unknown trauma.

Since then their lives have been a merry-go-round of vet check-ups and rehabilitation to ensure that he will maintain the full use of his injured leg.

When I was offered the opportunity to visit The Pet Physical Therapy Center in Chula Vista, Jenny and Monkey came with me.

The facility's tranquil blue and soft purple dŽcor create an air of calm and there's a sense of peace that permeates all the rooms. In the bathroom there is a mural of a Boxer wearing a sweatband running on a treadmill. Another mural shows a dog striking a yoga pose. Namaste. It's the kind of place I could see myself working out in, if I was given to working out in a gym.

"Because physical therapy for animals is so 'new', people look at it as if it is alternative medicine rather than part of veterinary practice," says the pet rehabilitation specialist, Lisa Draper (R.V.T., CCRA).

The center has an impressive array of programs tailored to a pet's specific needs. They offer everything from hydrotherapy to therapeutic laser treatment to weight management. The Pet Physical Therapy center is one of the only centers in South San Diego County offering state of the art equipment and cutting edge techniques to help pets in their journey back to health.

The Pet Physical Therapy Center is staffed by three innovative and dedicated individuals. Dr. Paul Farrell, DVM. is a veterinary surgeon who believes that with physical therapy, pets can have a better quality and quantity of life. Lisa Draper, R.V.T., CCRA, is a physical therapist who has been working in the veterinary field for more than 20 years. Draper hopes to enhance the quality of life for all of her post surgical patients, and feels that not enough pets are receiving physical rehabilitation after surgery. Marly Wexler, B.A., MTL., Ac., NCCAOM. is an acupuncturist, and is nationally certified in oriental medicine, acupuncture, Chinese herbology, and Asian body work. Her love for dogs motivated her independent exploration of the beneficial effects of canine acupuncture.

Animals recovering from injury and surgery require physical therapy just as much as humans do, but for some reason where humans will take their own physical therapy as seriously as taking a prescription, physical therapy for pets is not seen quite the same way. Hopefully, we will reach a day where animals and humans can do their physical therapy side-by-side.

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