Remembering Dr. Doug Herthel, a Pioneer of Equine Medicine

Dr. Doug Herthel
Dr. Doug Herthel, a Pioneer of Equine Medicine

Doug Herthel, DVM, passed away July 11, 2018. Dr. Herthel, 71, earned his undergraduate degree from UC Davis and was a member of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) Class of 1971. It was at UC Davis where he met his wife, Sue. Shortly after completing his DVM studies, Dr. and Mrs. Herthel founded what would become the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, California.

Over the years, Dr. and Mrs. Herthel grew Alamo Pintado into one of the most well-known private practice equine referral hospitals in the nation. Their internship program routinely hosted SVM students, and the facility attracted clients from around the country, most notably President Ronald Reagan, whose ranch was located nearby. Under Dr. Herthel’s leadership, Alamo Pintado was at the leading edge of adopting new technologies and offering them to clients, sometimes even before academic hospitals.

“Doug and I were friends since our earliest days in college,” said Dr. Gregory Ferraro, an SVM classmate and former director of UC Davis’ Center for Equine Health and Large Animal Clinic. “He was a great veterinarian and an even better man. I admired his knowledge and ability, his innovative spirit and record of performance, his morality and ethics; but mostly, I admired his kind heart. He and Sue raised a great family and developed a worldwide group of admirers. I treasured his friendship, and I—like many, many others—will miss him terribly. "

Along with being a pioneer in colic surgeries, Dr. Herthel’s work in the field of regenerative medicine is the foundation upon which all other veterinary stem cell programs were built. He helped found the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association, and he inspired the work of veterinarians and Ph.D. scientists alike.

In 1996, Dr. Herthel founded Platinum Performance, developing dietary health supplements for horses, and later expanding the company to include products for dogs, cats and humans.  

That same year, the SVM honored Dr. Herthel with the Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his development of innovative techniques in equine orthopedic and colic surgery and anesthesia recovery, and his development of a humane ambulance system for injured horses.

Dr. Herthel is survived by his wife Sue and their two sons, Mark, who runs Platinum Performance, and Troy, a surgeon at Alamo Pintado.

Read Alamo Pintado’s touching tribute to Dr. Herthel

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