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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 is one of few specialists worldwide that is board certified in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation. She has been practicing rehabilitation medicine for over 10 years. Her advanced training specializes her skills in diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries such as joint injuries, ligament and tendon tears, and spinal injuries. Dr. Alvarez utilizes Integrative Medicine, which combines modern conventional approaches with Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Integrative Medicine includes therapies such as regenerative medicine (stem cells and platelet rich plasma), physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and herbal medicine, which help to increase the overall health of a patient and can often increase the success of conventional treatments. Dr. Alvarez was the founder of a successful Integrative Medicine service at Katonah Bedford Veterinary Specialty Hospital prior to joining the staff of the Animal Medical Center. She is also fluent in Spanish. Dr. Alvarez is a renowned national and international lecturer, research scientist, and accomplished author of peer-reviewed articles. She leads one of only 5 accredited residencies nationwide for training residents in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation. Dr. Alvarez offers physical rehabilitation (including low-level therapeutic laser, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, stem cells, PRP, therapeutic ultrasound, underwater treadmill, pulsed electric magnetic field therapy, myofascial trigger point release, manual therapies and home exercise programs), acupuncture to dogs and cats (including dry needle, electroacupuncture, aquapuncture, and laser acu-stimulation), food therapy, Chinese herbal medicine, 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. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Oct 1;249(7):807-13.
  • 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.

Current Research

  • Effect of targeted PEMF therapy on canine post-operative hemilaminectomy: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Study completed. Manuscript submitted to Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.
  • Multicenter double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial on allogeneic stem cells for the treatment of canine osteoarthritis. Trial completed. Manuscript currently in process.
  • Effect of rubber nail devices on weight bearing after canine tibial plateau-leveling osteotomy. Study proposal approved by IACUC. Trial ready to initiate.

Research Interests

  • Soft tissue and sports injuries
  • Geriatric medicine
  • Joint supplements and Nutraceuticals