Approximately 900,000 horses in America colic each year, and seasonal changes to grass in a pasture can be enough of a disruption in a horse's system to trigger a bout of colic. However, through good horse management and preventive care, it is possible to reduce the risks of colic. To ease the minds of horse owners, SmartPak™ Equine has developed ColiCare™, an equine wellness program geared toward preventing colic. SmartPak is so confident in its program, it offers up to $7,500 for colic surgery reimbursement.
What is the ColiCare program? SmartPak's ColiCare program is a wellness program to help horse owners take measures to prevent colic and to provide extra help in case colic that requires surgery does strike. The program includes a $7,500 colic surgery reimbursement for horses who are enrolled.
What does the ColiCare program entail? As a part of the ColiCare program, owners agree to administer SmartPak's SmartDigest Ultra supplement in SmartPaks™ on a daily basis throughout the year. In addition, owners agree to provide their horses with routine physical and dental exams, a veterinarian-administered vaccination program and a deworming program overseen by their veterinarian.
"The ColiCare program is intended to provide fundamentally better care through the wellness program and by using SmartDigest® Ultra. The reimbursement is there, so if despite the good care you still have some kind of an issue come up, you have that as backup. The goal is to take much better care of your horse," says SmartPak CEO Paal Gisholt.
What is SmartDigest Ultra and how does it work? SmartDigest Ultra is a supplement that contains ingredients such as pre-biotics, enzymes and yeast to promote healthy digestion and lessen the effects on the horse's digestive system that result from changes in feed, stress levels or environment.
Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak's staff veterinarian, says that SmartDigest Ultra benefits the horse's hindgut, or large intestine, which is the area that includes the cecum and colon.
"We think of the hindgut as the horse's fermentation vat. That's where all of the ‘good bugs' or beneficial bacteria live and [SmartDigest Ultra] provides some preferred food for those good bugs as well as more bugs and other ingredients," she says.
Is my horse eligible for the ColiCare program? To be eligible for SmartPak's ColiCare program, horses must:
- reside in the United States,
- be at least 5 months of age and younger than 26 (but may remain enrolled until age 28),
- be under the direct care of a licensed veterinarian,
- not have had previous colic surgery and
- not have experienced colic in the past 12 months or have a history of chronic colic.
How can a horse owner become enrolled in the ColiCare program? To enroll in the ColiCare program, horse owners must first purchase SmartDigest Ultra in SmartPaks from SmartPak. After purchasing, they are asked if they want to become enrolled in the program and are then prompted to fill out an online application.
The online application is accepted or denied within three business days. During the application process, the horse owner must read and accept the terms and conditions that apply to the program, such as administration of SmartDigest Ultra in SmartPaks and routine veterinary care, vaccinations and a deworming program.
What happens if my horse colics while enrolled in the program? In the event that a horse enrolled in the program colics and requires surgery, SmartPak asks the horse's veterinarian to verify that the program requirements are being met. Dr. Gray points out that because the system is based on the idea of a reimbursement, pre-approval from SmartPak is not needed before a horse receives surgery. Once the vet signs the necessary forms, SmartPak acquires the invoice and an additional affidavit from the surgical facility and has an independent reviewer look at the charges to make sure they were appropriate for the colic surgery. SmartPak then reimburses the horse owner up to $7,500 worth of expenses.
Can ColiCare be beneficial even if my horse is insured? Even if a horse is insured by another company, the ColiCare program could still be helpful because it stands in front of any insurance policy. That way, if a horse has colic surgery, the owner can avoid making a claim to the insurance company and coverage can be saved in the event of another incident.
How do I learn more about the ColiCare program and SmartDigest Ultra? Visit SmartPakEquine.com/ColiCare.