Meet Kathryn G. and Spider (a ColiCare Success Story)
Success Profile: Spider
Owner: Kathryn Golden, DVM
Kathryn and Spider's Story:
As most horse-crazy little girls do, I dreamed of owning a horse from my very first memory. My non-horse parents were dead set against it. They supported my love of horses and riding but were adamant we would never own. After an Arabian that I loved and lessoned on weekly was sold at the farm I rode at, I switched to a new barn because I was heartbroken. Immediately I fell in love with Spider who was at the farm for training, he was only 3 years old and green-broke. Not sure what changed for my parents but out of the blue one day they exclaimed that we were buying him! I was 13 years old at the time, and after the twenty years Spider and I have spent together, I think my parents would both agree it was the best decision they ever made.
Spider and I grew up and matured together, he was 3 and I was 13 when our paths first crossed. He was with me through high school, came to college and veterinary school with me, and was a perfect test patient when I was getting certified in acupuncture. His character has changed, just like mine has as I have aged. One thing has stayed consistent though, I joke he is my grumpy old man because he does not like to snuggle, even still he is so tolerant of absolutely everything I ask of him. Without fail every time I call his name, regardless of if he is in his stall, or a half-acre away in the field he will lift his head and call to me (in the most unmanly high pitched whinny) and come running. Our bond is beyond special, it will never be replicated for me.
I decided to feed Spider SmartDigest Ultra Pellets in SmartPaks because as a veterinarian, I appreciated the science-backed supplements. I also was very impressed by the company’s focus on fostering veterinary client relationships. Having ColiCare as a security blanket in theunfortunate event that Spider was going to need colic surgery was also a plus!
I happened to pull into the barn to float Spider’s teeth one morning around 10am. It was raining slightly, and I noticed he was laying down in his field. I thought he was mid-roll, but upon parking and walking to his field, he had not risen. When I called for him, he whinnied back just like always but did not rise. I knew immediately something was very wrong. As his veterinarian, I had literally been training for that moment since I learned about strangulating lipomas in college. It may sound cliché, but I took one look at him and knew without a doubt what was going on. Arabians (like Spider) are very prone to developing strangulating lipomas, I have seen this proven true over and over again. I drove home, hooked up my trailer, and loaded Spider up within 20 minutes of finding him. I tried to prepare my heart and mind by telling myself that something like this wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. Knowing that he was at such high risk, I wanted to have everything prepared in advance, ColiCare fit perfectly into this equation for us and made a highly stressful situation less stressful, especially on the financial side.
My experience may be different than the average SmartPak customer’s because, as a veterinarian, this was not the first claim I had been a part of with SmartPak. I have also been a part of claims with other companies with competing programs, and I can say without hesitation that SmartPak’s program is the most user-friendly and positive experience I have had, not only with my own horse but with clients' horses. I called the ColiCare claims line while driving to the surgical center and reported that my horse was likely going to need colic surgery. The team was so kind and compassionate, they all sent along sympathies and well-wishes. I was emailed a form to fill out at my convenience and email back. Multiple individuals from SmartPak followed up with me over the following days and weeks to check in on us, everyone was so dang kind! Once I submitted the required paperwork, it was only a matter of days before I was informed that my claim was approved and a few weeks before I had a check in hand. It couldn’t have been easier.
Colic is an unfortunate part of owning horses. There are many things that we can do as horse owners to reduce our horses’ risks; appropriate nutrition, veterinary guided dental care, fecal based deworming, and vaccinations. However, even when everything is done appropriately there are things we cannot control, like genetics. Having financial support during one of the most stressful times any horse owner will experience is unspeakably comforting. Thinking about what you want to do before you find yourself in the situation is so vital. Especially with small intestinal issues, time is of the essence and can make the difference between a horse that survives colic surgery and one that doesn’t. As a veterinarian, I have many clients that delay the decision due to financial constraints, and unfortunately, by the time they make the decision to go to surgery, it is sometimes too late. The sooner the decision to go to surgery is made the better the outcome, eliminating the financial portion of this decision is hugely helpful.
A final word of advice, having a relationship with a veterinarian that you trust is an absolute must! As a veterinarian, there is nothing more stressful than trying to establish trust and a relationship with a client/patient during an emergency situation. Use your wellness/vaccination appointments to build the foundation for this relationship.