Navigation

The LIVS Story

A Dream That Came True.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Meyer “Mike” Kaplan, a well-known and beloved veterinary surgeon who owned Levittown Animal Hospital, saw that Long Island needed a veterinary specialty center. So he formed Island Veterinary Referral, operating out of Levittown Animal Hospital with Dr. John Sapienza (veterinary ophthalmologist), Dr. Rada Panich, (veterinary dermatologist), and Dr. Dominic J. Marino (veterinary surgeon).

Dr. Kaplan had it right—the demand for specialty services was so great that the new referral center soon had to relocate in order to ease crowding at the Levittown facility’s popular general practice.

Sadly, during the planning to build the new center, Dr. Kaplan was diagnosed with a fatal brain malignancy. Although he would never work at the facility that became Long Island Veterinary Specialists, he was closely involved in its development, imparting a wealth of advice to the three young, enthusiastic specialists who were committed to bringing their shared vision to fruition.

In June 1998, LIVS—Long Island’s first veterinary specialty center and fully equipped emergency and critical care hospital—opened its doors with a staff of 24 employees. Within weeks, extra telephone lines were installed to handle the heavy call volume, and the staff was nearly doubled to 40.
Since then, LIVS has continued to grow, with the original three doctors joined by talented specialists in almost every discipline. The practice has invested in sophisticated diagnostic and treatment technologies, and our specialists perform some of the most advanced procedures—from brain surgery to intraocular lens implantation, cancer therapy and allergy testing.

As a result, today LIVS is a respected regional resource not only for pet owners, but also for primary care veterinarians, local veterinary specialists, and even veterinary schools. And we see referrals not only from the tri-state region, but also as far away as Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alaska and California.

Notably, LIVS has never closed its doors to animals in need. Nor have we ever refused a case, choosing instead to work with pet owners to help find the most cost-effective way to ensure their pet’s continued good health.

Before his passing, Dr. Kaplan visited the new facility and smiled, commenting, “I always knew it would be successful.”

LIVS – A Chronology

2012
January 1

2012

First vitreoretinal surgery in dogs in New York State. Retinal detachment repair attempted.
2011
January 3

2011

Surgeons / Radiologists / Internists benefit from LIVS’s first Fluoroscopy Suite allowing for an array of Interventional Radiology procedures including “Tracheal / Urethral / Colonic stenting.
January 2

2011

American Veterinary Medical Association; Practitioner Research Award presented to Dr. Dominic J. Marino on behalf of the pioneering research performed at LIVS.
2010
January 1

2010

LIVS surgeons pioneer the first “Nano” and “Micro” total hip replacements for dogs and cats as small as 1lb.
2008
January 9

2008

3.0 Tesla MRI installed. Only 2 private practices in the country today offer this level of technology.
January 8

2008

Solx gold shut implants used for canine glaucoma.
2007
January 1

2007

Canine Chiari Institute at LIVS is organized bringing together researchers in human, veterinary, biomedical engineering, and computer science in center to collaborate on a national level.
2006
January 1

2006

Endolaser glaucoma surgery for the treatment of primary and secondary glaucoma in dogs. The first in the NE USA.
2005
January 1

2005

Development of the nation’s first veterinary “Electronic Brachytherapy” program makes radiation therapy accessible and affordable for LI pets.
2004
January 1

2004

LIVS expands to 20,000 sq/ft and adds rehabilitation services with human physical therapists for pets and “Gate Analysis Laboratory” equipped with LI’s only computerized force plate system to assess lameness in dogs.
2003
January 1

2003

Long Island’s first Allergy laboratory creating custom vaccines for allergic pets.
2002
January 1

2002

LIVS announces “Minimally Invasive Surgery” initiative with an MIS operatory to perform arthroscopy, laporoscopy, and thoracoscopy.
2000
January 9

2000

The first foldable intraocular lens implant following phacoemulsification cataract surgery in a dog. The first in the USA!
January 8

2000

LIVS brings Long Islands first MRI, CUSA-surgical aspirator to remove “non-removeable tumors and Neuro Pack neurodiagnostic machine to detect rare neurologic disorders making it the premier neurology/neurosurgery service in the region.
1999
January 3

1999

Lecture and conference hall dedicated to Meyer “Mike” Kaplan, DVM to be used for veterinary CE for area veterinarians and animal related groups.
January 2

1999

First successful corneal transplant surgery in a dog with blinding corneal disease.
1998
January 3

1998

Island Veterinary Referral moves to Plainview and changes name to Long Island Veterinary Specialists providing the Island’s first 24 hour critical care and trauma center equipped with CT and MRI in an 12,000 sq/ft facility.
January 2

1998

Glaucoma gonioimplant surgery: pioneered the usage of the Ahmed glaucoma shunt in dogs and cats.
1996
January 1

1996

Long Island’s first Hydrocephalic shunt (to treat hydrocephalus).
1995
January 1

1995

Long Island’s first limb sparing (to remove cancer by grafting in a donor bone from a bone bank).
1994
January 1

1994

Long Island’s first brain tumor removal surgery.
1993
January 1

1993

Island Veterinary Referral opens. Long Island’s first 24 hour veterinary referral center providing multispecialty and 24 hour care in a 3,000 sq/ft facility in Levittown, NY. Meyer “Mike” Kaplan serves as Chief of staff with Drs. Panic, Marino, and Sapienza.