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Alvarez, Leilani, DVM, DACVSMR

Staff Doctor; Head of Integrative & Rehabilitative Medicine

Dr. Leilani Alvarez is the Director of the Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation & Fitness Service and head of AMC's Integrative and Rehabilitative Medicine Department. 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 a decade. 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 AMC. She completed her rotating surgical and medicine internship and residency at AMC. 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 is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious John Sherman Award for Excellence in Veterinary Rehabilitation. She leads one of only 5 accredited residencies nationwide for training residents in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation. Her research interests include soft tissue and sports injuries, geriatric medicine, joint supplements, and nutraceuticals.

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
  • DVM - University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, GA,  Magna Cum Laude, and Certification in International Veterinary Medicine

Postgraduate Training

  • Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist - International Veterinary Acupuncture Society
  • Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist - Canine Rehabilitation Institute
  • Masters in Chinese Veterinary Herbal Medicine - College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies

Recent Publications

  • Alvarez LX, McCue JP, Lam NK, Askin G, Fox PR. Effect of targeted PEMF therapy on canine postoperative hemilaminectomy: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2019; 55:
  • Jones B, Berent AC, Weisse CW, Hart R, Alvarez L, Fischetti A. Surgical and endoscopic treatment of bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex in a female dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2018 Mar 15;252(6):732-743.
  • 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.