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The LIVS Story


For over a decade, Long Island Veterinary Specialists has been Long Island’s premier resource for providing advanced medical care for dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Because of our position at the forefront of veterinary medicine, LIVS has become a resource for area family veterinarians, veterinary specialists, and regional veterinary schools. Cases are seen only be referral or through our emergency service. Webelieve that clear, timely communication between the referring veterinarian and the staff of this facility is vital to the patient’s diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and the emotional well-being of the pet owner.

The present-day Long Island Veterinary Specialists has its roots in “Island Veterinary Referral”, formed in Levittown in 1993. The idea was to create a place where Long Islanders could take their pets for advanced veterinary services that were not otherwise available on the island.


The people behind the vision were the late Dr. Meyer “Mike” Kaplan, a veterinary surgeon and owner of Levittown Animal Hospital, and Dr. John Sapienza, veterinary ophthalmologist. The two veterinarians were soon joined by Dr. Rada Panich, veterinary dermatologist, and Dr. Dominic J. Marino, veterinary surgeon.

Because of rapidly growing caseload and medical team necessary to provide advanced veterinary services, the resources of the Levittown facility were quickly exceeded. In June 1998, “Island Veterinary Referral” moved to larger quarters in Plainview and was renamed Long Island Veterinary Specialists. LIVS became the first veterinary specialist referral center with a 24 hour emergency and critical care service in the region and was the largest at over 12,000 sq/ft.

LIVS is today recognized as one of the nation’s premier private veterinary specialist centers. Patients are not only referred from the tri-state region, but from Florida, Texas, Vermont, Alaska, the Caribbean, and as far away as Spain and Japan. Our diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation capabilities are second to none. Specialists at LIVS regularly perform brain and spine surgery, intraocular lens implantation, cancer therapy, hip replacements, cardiac evaluations, allergy testing, endoscopy, immunotherapy therapy, CT scans and MR imaging. We now occupy over 20,000 sq/ft and are staffed with over 160 trained professionals practicing in various specialty disciplines. As Dr. Kaplan once told the founding members: “I always knew it would be successful, but not like this!”

In 2013 Long Island Veterinary Specialists celebrated its 15 year anniversary.  We are excited about the future and looking forward to helping pets for years to come.  


A chronology of important events in our history

Mouse over the dates below to view more detail.