I have my horse on Smartpaks, and I ran the numbers (I'm an accountant) and it came out to $0.03/day to have them prepackaged. I could EASILY lose that much just in waste and measurement error as I put the supplements into baggies or containers, so effectively, the Smartpaks are no more expensive than buying in bulk, and possibly less so. I am sure that it is a factor that all of the supplements I have him on are the "Smart" supplements, not third-party supplements that are being repackaged by Smartpak.
When I saw that colicare advert come out this week I signed up for it immediately. I missed the window of opportunity to get in on the colic-surgery reimbursement for the daily dewormers.
The way to think about this issue is the same way you think about insurance. You don't *expect* to need the insurance, and will be a happier individual for your life if you never need it, but if you *do* need it and don't have it, what are the consequences?
They didn't care that I have only owned my 18 year old horse for a year - he doesn't have any scars that suggest surgery, and to the best of my knowledge he has never colicked, and that's what they're asking at that. NOT a complete medical history.
The other requirements are things I already have done - get his teeth done regularly, get vet-recommended shots, get fecals, deworm 2x per year, etc. So for me, the entire marginal cost is $30/month...and that's for stuff that my older boy will probably benefit from having *anyway* seeing as how his digestive system is getting a little less efficient with age. But let's take the actual benefit from the probiotics and prebiotics and stuff as a freebie.
The real benefit to *me* is that IF he colics and needs surgery - and two horses in the neighborhood have been in that position this year - I will not have to say NO and have my beautiful boy put to sleep when it is possible that the surgery would have given him more years of good life...just because I am afraid of the cost. For *me* it is worth the $30 bucks minus whatever actual benefits come from the supplement to know that I will not need to make a life-or-death decision for him in terms of colic surgery based on my *bank balance* at the time.
In addition, they will let him stay on the program for another 10 years. In 10 years, I will spend slightly less than half the amount that they're actual covering him for...so IF he does need the surgery, I will still come out ahead, financially.
And I also know that IF he needs the surgery, gets it, and dies anyway, I will not be completely financially wiped out, and I will also know that I gave him every possible chance.
Not everyone will have this same perspective, and that's fine. But for me, this is what my cost-benefit analysis looked like, and it was a total no-brainer - given this analysis - to take them up on the offer.