Colic Insurance

Colic Insurance

by Charlene Cook DVM

When horse owners and veterinarians are surveyed the number one concern is always the same….. it is colic. As horse owners we are scared of colic. Colic may result in the loss of our horse and even routine treatments have a significant financial impact. As veterinarians colic is an emergency call to work. We must rapidly assess the horse, determine the optimal treatment for the case and help guide the owner to the best possible solution.

Lately we have seen a very high number of colic cases. Many of these have been severe impactions that either required surgery or intensive care. Many of these horses required hospitalization. Several of these cases did not survive.

One of the worst sights for me is an owner who loves their horse very much but cannot afford to send the horse for colic surgery. The owner goes through the agonizing realization that they must choose between financial constraints and euthanasia. It never is an easy choice.

Several years ago the SmartPak Company came out with the ColiCare Program. The program is designed to provide $7500 of funding for horses that must undergo colic surgery. Thus far the reports from the company and horse owners have been very good.

There are several requirements for the ColiCare Program,
1.    The horse must be weaned and be at least 5 months of age
2.    The horse must not have had a previous colic surgery
3.    The horse must not be subject to chronic colic (repeated episodes)
4.    The horse must not have colicked within the past 12 months

There are requirements for the care of the horse
1.    The horse must be on one of four products manufactured by the SmartPak Company designed to help reduce the incidence of colic.
2.    The horse must receive a yearly physical dental examination by a licensed veterinarian.
3.    The horse must receive annual vaccinations administered by a licensed veterinarian
4.    The horse must be on a deworming program that includes a yearly fecal test and two deworming treatments.

Recently at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Annual Convention a research study was presented entitled “Effect of a Supplements on Non-Glandular Gastric Ulcer Scores and Gastric Juice pH”. In this study a group of 8 Thoroughbred horses with gastric ulcers were treated with Gastroguard (Omeprazole) for 14 days. After the 14 day treatment half of the horses were placed on Smart Gut Ultra (SGU) the other half received no treatments. Then all horses were subjected to situations that tend to cause gastric ulcers. All horse were scoped to view the stomach lining. The horses that were on SGU has significantly lower gastric ulcer scores. Proving that the SGU has a positive impact on gastric health.

As many of you know I am a stickler for research proven data. I do not like to recommend products until they have been proven to be both safe and effective. With the release of this research project I feel that we can whole heartedly recommend the SGU product to our clients.

Who needs it?  Well the answer might surprise you. We have had colic cases due to gastric ulcers in pleasure horses, trail riding horses, show horses, lots of cases in competition horses and many cases in horses that never leave the farm!

 Why? The answer lies in stress. If you are a horse and your pasture buddy is always first to the hay, first to the water, bites you if you get close you are going to be living under stress. Stress in horses is the number one cause of gastric ulcers.

Horses that travel and compete are at very high risk for gastric ulcers. Many cases of gastric ulcers involve poor performance, lower scores, bad behavior but not colic.

So if you can feed something on a daily basis that may prevent or reduce the severity of ulcers AND it comes with a $7500 colic surgery policy I think that warrants a closer look.

You can read more about ColiCare at
You can enroll online. If you have a claim you will be required to submit all receipts s to verify that you complied with the terms of the agreement. SmartPak will track your purchases of the required supplements.

You can watch a video on the ColiCare program by clicking here.

I hope you never have to treat your horse for colic. I hope that you will never have to face a decision for colic surgery in a horse you love. But just in case here is a program that I think you should consider.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, prosperous 2015!
Charlene B. Cook DVM