Dr. Rodrigo Vazquez De Mercado, DVM, MPVM, DACVS, has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1987. Immediately following his graduation from veterinary school he started an Equine Medicine Internship under the guidance of Dr. Dan Evans at Escondido Veterinary Hospital. After his internship Dr. Vazquez was awarded a scholarship which allowed him the opportunity to attend the Master’s program of Preventative Veterinary Medicine at University of California at Davis. After completing his Masters degree, he went into the equine internal medicine residency program at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis, under the mentorship of Drs. Gary Carlson and John Madigan. Following his residency he then joined the faculty of the veterinary school of the University of Baja California in Mexico, where he organized and directed the construction of their equine hospital, including a surgical suite and intensive care units. After four years of teaching equine medicine and surgery he returned to UC Davis to complete an equine surgery residency. Dr. Vazquez received his board certification by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. After his residency Dr. Vazquez stayed as staff surgeon at the Veterinary Medical teaching Hospital at UC Davis. Later on Dr. Vazquez moved on, into practice private practice equine medicine and surgery.
Dr. Vazquez is the founder of Equine Surgical Services Inc. (ESS), a sports medicine and surgical referral practice. ESS operates out of Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC), which is located in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe, CA. just a few miles from the Del Mar Race track. Dr. Vazquez works with all breeds of horses, with particular emphasis in the dressage and hunter/jumper disciplines.
HWAC, is a complete surgical and medical center, equipped to perform the most advanced diagnostic , medical and surgical procedures; including but not limited to: digital radiography, ultrasonography, nuclear scintigraphy, large magnet MRI (1.5 teslas), 3 and 1 meter endoscopy, arthroscopic and laparoscopic procedures, trans-endoscopic laser procedures. Also having 24 hours a day, 7 days a week staff, allows prompt attention and intervention for the acute and painful colic patients, offering a complete range of abdominal procedures 24 hrs a day.
HWAC is stocked with a full line of surgical implants to provide fracture repair for most situations. The hospital is equipped with one of the only two swimming pool recovery systems in the west coast. This allows Dr. Vazquez to safely recover the fracture repair patients after their surgeries.
Dr. Vazquez has been at the forefront of stem cell/platelet rich plasma (PRP) surgery, performing these procedures for many years with the collaboration of a group of human perfusionists (Perfusion Concepts Inc.) lead by Angela Nava BA, CCP.
Dr. Vazquez has been using bone marrow derived stem cells to treat soft tissue injuries. Most procedures are done under general anesthesia to allow the horse to be non-weight bearing for the ultrasound guided injection of the stem cells and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). The stem cells are collected from the sternum, often tapping into 2-4 sternum vertebral bodies to maximize the number of collected cells. The Platelets, the main product in PRP, are found naturally in the blood. Platelets contain alpha granules. These Alpha granules are loaded with anti-inflammatory chemical mediators that will make the injured site to be a fertile ground for the new undifferentiated stem cells to multiply and heal the injured tissue. A highly concentrated PRP solution is mixed during surgery with a newly harvested and concentrated stem cell suspension, and injected into the patients injured site.
Dr. Vazquez’s stem cell/PRP surgeries, have allowed world class athletes go back and successfully compete at the highest level of international competition. Such patients like “Ravel” after suffering a career ending injury, went on to place fourth in the Beijing Olympics, was the first American horse to win the word cup in the United States, and was the first horse in the last 78 years to win individual medals at the World Equestrian Games. “Floriano”, after a severe hind end proximal suspensory ligament tear went on to place third in the world cup in dressage. There are also numerous grand prix jumpers that have gone back and successfully resumed their jumping careers.
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