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Alvarez, Leilani, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CCRT, CVCHM

Staff Doctor; Head of Integrative & Rehabilitative Medicine

Dr. Leilani Alvarez is the head of our Integrative and Rehabilitative Medicine Service and Director of the Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation & Fitness Service. Dr. Alvarez practices Integrative Medicine, which combines Western Medicine with Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Integrative Medicine includes therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and physical rehabilitation, which help to increase the overall health of a patient and can often increase the success of Western treatments. Dr. Alvarez was the founder of a successful Integrative Medicine service at Katonah Bedford Veterinary Specialty hospital prior to arriving at the Animal Medical Center. She is also fluent in Spanish. Dr. Alvarez offers acupuncture to dogs and cats (including dry needle, electroacupuncture, aquapuncture, and laser acu-stimulation), physical rehabilitation (including low-level therapeutic laser, therapeutic ultrasound, under water treadmill, pulsed electric magnetic field therapy, myofascial trigger point release, manual therapies and home exercise programs), food therapy, Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, and geriatric care.

Board Certifications

  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation


  • BS - Emory University, Atlanta, GA, Suma Cum Laude - double major in Biology and German, 1996
  • DVM - University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, GA,  Magna Cum Laude, and Certification in International Veterinary Medicine, 2002

Postgraduate Training

  • Rotating Small Animal Medicine and Surgical Internship - The Animal Medical Center, New York, NY, 2003
  • Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist - International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, 2008
  • Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist - Canine Rehabilitation Institute, 2009
  • Certification in Chinese Veterinary Herbal Medicine - College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies, January 2012

Awards & Honors

  • Recipient of the 2017 John Sherman Award for Excellence in Veterinary Rehabilitation
  • Selected by NY1 News as "NYer of the Week" in January 2014 for work in rehabilitating a paralyzed rabbit
  • Selected by Westchester veterinarians for both  2011 and 2012 Westchester Magazine's “Top Vets”

Recent Publications

  • Alvarez LX, Fox PR, Van Dyke JB. Survey of referring veterinarians’ perceptions and reasons for referral to rehabilitation facilities. Manuscript accepted for publication 8/15 J Am Vet Med Assoc. October 1, 2016.
  • Chin, J, Alvarez, L. Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture in Birds. Poster presented at Bronx Science Consortium. Wildlife Conservation Society, Sept 30, 2015.
  • Alvarez L. Chapter 18: Acupuncture.  In Gaynor J and Muir M: Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management, ed 3, St. Louis, 2015, Mosby.
  • Alvarez, L. Herbal Therapy in a dog with recurrent mast cell tumors. Journal of Integrative Veterinary Therapies (JIVT). 2012;2(2):8-12.
  • Alvarez, L. Herbal Therapy in a Dog with Severe Atopic Dermatitis. Journal of Integrative Veterinary Therapies (JIVT) 2(1) March, 2012, Vol 2, Issue 1: 5-12.
  • Alvarez, L. Acupuncture Treatment for a Bichon Frise with Pain and Ataxia following Cervical Disk Surgery. The Meridian. American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture. Oct 2008, Vol 10, No. 4: 11-18.

Research Interests

  • Muscle physiology and strengthening
  • Geriatric medicine
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Palliative and hospice care
  • Canine and feline rehabilitation