Not long ago, nutrition meant something very different within the realm of veterinary medicine. While it was seen as an important part of everyday care, nutrition wasn’t thought to go much further than that. It was the early 1990s and Dr. Doug Herthel was convinced that a therapeutic approach to nutrition could, in fact, play a major role in both healing and performance in his equine patients and beyond. Could patients heal faster and more completely? Could they perform to their full genetic potential and, perhaps most importantly, could veterinarians help to create healthier and more durable athletes that could avoid the pitfalls of injury and disease when given the right tools? What began as profound questions, transformed into the mission of Platinum Performance®, founded in 1996 to change the scope of what therapeutic nutrition could accomplish within the cells of the horse, the walls of the clinic and the fences of the show pen.
At the family’s veterinary clinic, Alamo Pintado Equine, they had incredibly close relationships with the clients they valued as friends and family. The veterinarians and staff knew them, knew their horses, and their mission of exceptionally personal service has translated over to Platinum from its earliest days. Today the goal each day remains unchanged; do right by the horse and its owner, always. That simple credo has led every decision the company has made since day one.
Platinum long-standing leadership team has driven the company forward with, admittedly, an unlikely juxtaposition. Platinum Performance® made research one of its key areas of focus, investing in furthering the reach of equine health through studies performed at colleges of veterinary medicine and in private practices across the country. Today, this research drives product development, resulting in formulas that address real clinical needs. Those formulas are then delivered by way of a service model derived from Platinum’s roots in veterinary practice. “We have extreme service standards here,” says Heather Elliott, who has led Platinum’s Advisor team since 2001. Platinum Advisors are a select group of extensively trained nutritional advisors known for highly personal service. “Our team serves with the same mantra we’ve had since the beginning,” says Elliott. “Do right by the client and their horse, every time.”
Over the last two decades, Platinum Performance® has set out to lead the emergence of therapeutic nutrition as a vital tool in veterinary medicine. Now a standard of care in practices around the world, therapeutic nutrition continues to evolve in both scale and impact. While therapeutic nutrition can support horses in both healing and performing to their full potential, the company recognizes that its impact could go far beyond that, helping veterinarians to create a more predictive, preventive and personalized approach to medicine. This emerging field is known as scientific wellness, and Platinum believes it could have a profound impact on animal health. The company is investing in forward-thinking research, spanning from the gut microbiome and metabolome to mitochondrial function and predictive bio-markers. With so many conditions and injuries in both equine and human medicine appearing out of nowhere, being able to use bio-markers to give a veterinarian an indication that a patient was at a higher risk. Then, once identified, the veterinarian could take a preventive approach to stave off injury or disease, resulting in a longer, higher quality life. Though the work is in infancy, the team at Platinum is passionate about the future potential. They’re confident that if they can come to a place in medicine where veterinarians can better predict, prevent and more personally treat these conditions, the shape of medicine could be forever changed.
That knowledge requires advanced testing and diagnostics, fueled by ever-evolving science. While the research is young, it is driving forward at a rapid pace. The intersection of equine and human medicine is key here. Human medicine is far ahead of the veterinary realm in terms of the science, however, in equine medicine there is great potential, given the love and care provided to the horse and the veterinary-client-patient relationship. It’s well-known that oftentimes when something is effective in a horse it can be effective in a human as well. By working together we can exponentially further our reach.
Platinum Performance® has dedicated itself to not only advancing the impact of therapeutic nutrition in daily practice, but to contributing on a foundational level to the development of the field of scientific wellness. The targeted nutrients in Platinum Performance® formulas can support the health and performance of nearly every case a veterinarian sees. Platinum has the drive, the formulas and the nutritional knowledge, and the company has recently joined forces with Zoetis® to leverage their diagnostic capabilities, significant R&D initiatives and global resources to bring the field of scientific wellness from concept to reality. This positions the two forces in animal health to together impact the continuum of care in equine veterinary medicine to help discover better ways to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat injury and disease.
At its core, the coming together of the two brands is a natural fit. “When we first explored this opportunity, we found ourselves aligned in what we wanted for the future but, importantly, also connected on a core level,” says Kate Russo, Director of Platinum Performance®. “We’re moving forward in unison and focused on making a difference.” Recognizing the unique position that the company has formed within the veterinary and performance worlds, Zoetis® will maintain Platinum Performance® as a distinct business and brand led by Russo and the long-standing Platinum Leadership Team. The vision is within reach and together the two companies will move faster, go further and hopefully help to redefine what’s possible in veterinary medicine and performance. Beyond that, this will allow Platinum to carry its work in equine veterinary medicine into the small animal realm as well.
As with everything Platinum Performance® does, it all stems from a desire for impact. While this is an opportunity to make a bigger difference, this is Platinum Performance® doing so while maintaining the values they hold sacred with the same incredible team, the same formulas clients rely on, the same commitment to riders and veterinarians, and in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, the same place where they were founded. While the important things will remain unchanged, this opportunity combines resources, allows for a bigger vision to come to life at a faster pace and joins two companies made up of people who want to do better by the horse.
To set the stage for a brighter and healthier future for the horse and, hopefully one day, the human as well, Platinum Performance® hosted the inaugural Platinum Summit on December 7th, 2019 in Denver, Colorado, just one day prior to the 2019 AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) gathering. Platinum Summit brought together leading researchers and practitioners in both human and veterinary medicine to share innovative perspectives with the goal of advancing animal health, exploring the impact of nutrient therapy on patient outcomes and discussing exciting research related to the equine microbiome, metabolome, predictive bio-markers and the science of systems biology. The goal of Platinum Summit continues to be to support the development of more targeted and timely treatments using a predictive, preventive and more personalized approach to medicine. “Platinum Summit was a landmark event for us,” says Jessie Bengoa, who helped lead the event together with the Platinum Performance® veterinary advisor team. "We were able to gather innovators in both daily practice and from a research setting to introduce a new perspective in veterinary medicine. We know that the best results come from treating the horse as an integrated whole animal. We hope to set the stage for significant shifts in the next several years, including in the field of scientific wellness.”
The air of excitement in Platinum's Buellton, California, headquarters is palpable. While big dreams are within reach, there is a comforting presence of normalcy. “We’re going to continue Dr. Herthel’s legacy and bring his vision to reality together,” assures Kate Russo.