Leann Kuebelbeck, DVM, Diplomate ACVS – Surgeon and Practice Owner

Dr. Leann Kuebelbeck, Board Certified Surgeon, received her veterinary degree from Kansas State University and completed her internship and surgical residency at Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala, Florida. She then came to Brandon, Florida to co-found Brandon Equine Medical Center, then known as Surgi-Care Center for Horses, in 1995. She became the sole-owner of the practice in March 2009. In 2014 she changed the name of the practice to Brandon Equine Medical Center to fully encompass all of the services the practice has to offer. Dr. Kuebelbeck’s professional interests include both orthopedic and soft tissue surgery. Dr. Kuebelbeck was the 2009 President of the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners (FAEP) and serves on the Symposium Committee for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Dr. Kuebelbeck is also serving a three-year term on the North American Veterinary Conference’s (NAVC) Board of Directors. The NAVC promotes intensive continuing education for veterinarians. In December of 2016, Dr. Kuebelbeck was presented with Kansas State University’s Alumni Recognition Award “in recognition of her time and effort devoted to advancing veterinary medicine and for being an exemplary role model for future alumni in a professional and community setting.”

Dr. Kuebelbeck is a self-professed “equine geek” who knew by the age of 5 that she wanted to become a horse veterinarian and she never wavered from that goal. She grew up riding in Kansas so of course she rode Western and quickly fell in love with barrel racing and pole bending. Family economics did not afford the opportunity for extensive showing, but she competed locally as often as possible and 4-H was an important part of her formative years. Now, a mother herself, Dr. Kuebelbeck gets tremendous joy watching Grace, her 6 year old daughter, ride Lightning, the saintly pony, around the home property. She is hoping to foster a love for barrel racing with Grace, but for now Cinderella and Rapunzel are winning out! Dr. Kuebelbeck enjoys spending time with her family and participating in outdoor sports. She has completed two Ironman triathlons (Louisville and Kona) and achieved a personal best in the Ironman 70.3 in Lawrence, Kansas in 2010.

You may contact Dr. Kuebelbeck at: lkuebelbeck@brandonequine.com.

We would love for you to get to know the team at Brandon Equine Medical Center. Click on each team member below to learn more about them!

Ruth-Anne Richter, BSc (Hon), DVM, MS – Surgeon

Dr. Richter received her veterinary degree from the Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1995 after finishing a Bachelor of Science (Hon) degree. Dr. Richter did an equine internship at Mississippi State University, and following a year in private practice began a surgical residency at the University of Illinois. She completed her surgical residency and concurrent Master of Science degree in 2000. Since then, Dr. Richter has worked as a staff surgeon at Reid and Associates in West Palm Beach, the Equine Specialty Hospital in Ohio and East End Equine in Long Island, New York. Dr. Richter joined Brandon Equine Medical Center in 2005 as a staff surgeon. Prior to attending veterinary school, Dr. Richter was farm manager for Christilot Hanson-Boylen, a member of Canada’s Dressage Team. Dr. Richter’s specialties include equine sports medicine, diagnostic imaging – particularly ultrasound, lameness and surgery. She also has an interest in regenerative medicine techniques (stem cells, platelet-rich plasma and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein), and is certified by Vet-Stem®. Dr. Richter recently wrote a book chapter for Current Therapy in Equine Practice, 7th Edition on the use of therapeutic shoes in horses with tendon and ligament injuries.

Dr. Richter is a member of the AVMA, CVMA, AAEP, ISELP (International Society for Equine Locomotor Pathology) and NAVRMA (North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association). Dr. Richter is also a member of the FVMA’s FAEP board of directors. She is certified by Vet-Stem®, and is a member of the Vet Stem advisory committee.

You may contact Dr. Richter at rrichter@brandonequine.com.

Michael Maher, DVM, DACVS-LA, CVMMP – Surgeon and Certified Veterinary Medical Manipulation Practitioner

Dr. Michael Maher is a native Floridian who grew up with his three sisters on a small hobby farm in Plantation, Florida. The joys of farm life and growing up with horses left him with no doubt that veterinary medicine was the only path he wanted to travel.

And travel he did! He left the warmth of Florida for Colorado where he earned his Bachelors in Animal Science and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees at Colorado State University.

From Colorado, Dr. Maher went to California to intern with Pioneer Equine in Oakdale, California, a practice with a predominantly performance horse clientele that sees ~5,700 horses annually. There he honed his veterinary skills and took a particular interest in surgery which led him to pursue a surgical residency.

Adding to his travels and returning to cold winters, Dr. Maher went on to do a three-year surgical residency at Cornell University in upstate Ithaca, NY. While at Cornell he was a co-investigator looking at the correlation between transesophageal ultrasound findings and recurrent laryngeal neuropathy, and he became proficient at performing transesophageal ultrasound examination of the equine larynx.

Following his residency, and not yet deterred by the harsh winters, Dr. Maher accepted a position at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul as surgeon and clinical instructor of large animal surgery. During his tenure at U.M. he earned the university’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching as well as becoming a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons – Large Animal.

In 2016, after having experienced life in the United States’ central, western and farthest northern reaches, Dr. Maher joined the Brandon Equine Medical Center team and happily planted his roots back in the warmth of Florida. He continues to add to his skill set and in 2018 he earned his certification as a Veterinary Medical Manipulation Practitioner licensed to perform Spinal Manipulative Therapy.

Outside of equine veterinary medicine, Dr. Maher enjoys fishing, hiking and being out on the water.

Dr. Maher can be contacted at mmaher@brandonequine.com.

Melissa Restifo, DVM, DACVIM – Internal Medicine Specialist

Dr. Restifo is a self-proclaimed “barn rat.”   Throughout her life, she did anything she could to spend her time being surrounded by horses. From cleaning stalls and grooming horses, to working on farms that bred, trained and showed Shire draft horses, Dr. Restifo was continually inspired to pursue her love for horses through veterinary medicine and teaching.

Dr. Restifo’s education and training is extensive and includes Cornell University; the School of Veterinary Medicine at Ross University; School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University; a combined academic and private practice internship between Tufts University and the Massachusetts Equine clinic; and a large animal medicine residency also at Cummings of Tufts University.

Her love for veterinary medicine motivated her to share her knowledge through teaching. Dr. Resitfo has taught Large Animal Medicine to clinical year veterinary students on topics including modules on colic, ultrasonography and clinical case studies and conduct seminars on Equine Multinodular Pulmonary Fibrosis, Insulin Dysregulation, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. During her time at Ross University she was a radiographic anatomy teaching assistant and tutor for the Anatomy Department. Dr. Restifo has published several articles and has been invited to lecture on metabolic diseases of the horse. 

Dr. Restifo is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American Shire Horse Association. Dr. Restifo’s clinical interests are in Endocrinology; Emergency and Critical Care Medicine; Neo- and Perinatology; and Nutrition.

Dr. Restifo’s exemplary knowledge, internal medicine training, amazing work ethic, and dedication to the horse make her a gifted veterinarian who understands and appreciates her clients and their equine partners.

Dr. Restifo sees patients in the clinic and on the farm and can be contacted by calling 813-643-7177 or email mrestifo@brandonequine.com.

Download What is a Large Animal Internal Medicine Specialist?

Alexandra Young, DVM – Ambulatory Clinician

Dr. Alexandra “Alex” Young received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and continued her education to obtain her veterinary degree from the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, she conducted a research project on the immune system of house sparrows and took riding lessons in her spare time. While in veterinary school, Dr. Young was an active member of the student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), attending educational lectures and participating in many hands-on labs. Her areas of interest include internal medicine and reproduction.

Dr. Young completed her internship at Brandon Equine Medical Center and, impressed by her medical talents and her enthusiasm for her profession and her patients, was hired permanently to focus on our northern service area which includes Brooksville, Dade City and other locations within Pasco, Hernando and Sumter counties.

Dr. Young’s love of horses first began as a young girl when she took riding lessons at a discounted rate in exchange for arriving early to groom and tack up lesson horses and muck stalls. Born in Florida, she enjoys jogging, hiking, time on the beach and on boats, reading, and snuggling her two dogs.

You may contact Dr. Young directly at ayoung@brandonequine.com


Michelle Krotec, DVM – Ambulatory Clinician

Dr. Krotec received her undergraduate degree from Florida State University and obtained her veterinary degree from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine ranking 3rd in a class of 111.

After obtaining her veterinary degree, Dr. Krotec furthered her medical knowledge and skills while completing an internship at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Krotec’s areas of special interest are diverse and include complicated medicine cases, challenging surgical problems, and she enjoys working with performance horses.

A native of the west coast of Florida, Dr. Krotec is thrilled to be able to serve the people and horses of the greater Tampa/Sarasota area that she calls home. Dr. Krotec loves the outdoors and all the activities it brings such as hiking, scuba diving, landscape photography and spending as much time as she can on adventures with her horse and 3 dogs.

You may contact Dr. Krotec directly at mkrotec@brandonequine.com


Leanne Fowler, DVM, CVA – Ambulatory Clinician and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist

Dr. Leanne Fowler was educated at the University of Tennessee where she received both her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and her veterinary degree. Graduating at the top 20% of her class, Dr. Fowler strengthened her veterinary skills by completing a one-year internship at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Wellington.

In addition to her veterinary degree, Dr. Fowler is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist through the renowned Chi Institute, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Reddick, FL. She also traveled to Guangzhou, China for her equine specific acupuncture training.

Dr. Fowler is a Certified FEI Permitted Treating Veterinarian. She enjoys international travel, interacting with diverse populations, and she has a working knowledge of Spanish. Dr. Fowler special interests include equine musculoskeletal disease, integrative modalities, and ophthalmology.

You may contact Dr. Fowler directly at lfowler@brandonequine.com


Ashley Davenport, DVM – Junior Associate

Dr. Davenport attended Young Harris College in Georgia where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. She went on to earn a veterinary degree from the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Davenport enjoys research and during her academic career her research projects included “rein tension at the trot and canter in dressage horses at various levels” as well as conducting a study on equine trailer injury.

Dr. Davenport’s love of horses began at a young age and grew up training in classical dressage with a trainer from Finland. Outside of being with horses she enjoys hiking and fly-fishing, and she especially loves running advanced agility and playing Frisbee with Cooper, her Australian Shepherd.


Sydney Hayter, MS, MPH, DVM – Junior Associate


Consulting Specialists

Michael Canfield, Diplomate ACVD – Consulting Dermatologist

Dr. Canfield graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. After a number of years in practice, Dr. Canfield’s interests in dermatology flourished ultimately leading him to accept an American College of Veterinary Dermatology approved dermatology residency with Animal Dermatology Clinic located in Tustin, California. Following two years of intense training, Dr. Canfield completed his residency with Animal Dermatology Clinic. Dr. Canfield continued with Animal Dermatology Clinic in Marietta, GA on a regular basis until March of 2008 when he relocated to Tampa. Dr. Canfield is a member of the AAEP and is excited to have the opportunity to work in equine dermatology at Brandon Equine Medical Center.