Arenus Animal Health Brings Colic Assurance Program to Canada
By Margaret Evans, with input from Chris Vanderhoof, DVM
For horse owners, one of the most frequent areas of pressing health concern is their animals’ digestive system. Colic, ulcers, diarrhea, and leaky gut syndrome can be a constant affront to the well-being and success of equine athletes.
While successfully managing these conditions varies with every horse and every circumstance, providing extra support for the digestive tract can go a long way toward mitigating a potential crisis.
Headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado, Arenus Animal Health specializes in science-based equine nutraceuticals. Arenus has developed a range of products that provide digestive support and relief for recurrent colic, loose stools, and ulcers, while maintaining body condition through all stages of life. In the United States these are known as the Assure line of digestive aids.
The Assure products were researched and developed by veterinarian and CEO of Arenus, Dr. Jay Altman. They utilize a combination of probiotics, prebiotics, and high-grade psyllium, processed through a proprietary manufacturing technology, for the management of gastrointestinal disorders in clinically affected horses.
After several years of use in practice for gastrointestinal (GI) disturbance, the Assure products became well respected and heavily relied upon within the equine veterinary community, leading to further research and university-sponsored clinical trials. Soon, peer reviewed publications served to provide further evidence of the value that Assure could bring to a GI therapy regimen.
The product system known as Assure, Assure Guard, and Assure Plus continued to gain momentum. Several years later the product Assure Guard Gold was developed and now is the number one digestive aid recommended by equine veterinarians in the United States.
The effectiveness of the Assure products led to Arenus launching the Colic Assurance Program (CAP), through which the company provides coverage in the form of a product guarantee for horses in the event they develop medical or surgical colic while on the product.
The CAP program covers horses with a prior history of colic or abdominal surgery, provides coverage during international travel, and covers horses of all ages following weaning.
To qualify to receive CAP coverage requires enrollment in the program, purchase of qualifying products, feeding in accordance with the recommended program, and meeting annual wellness requirements.
Horses that are enrolled in the program and comply with all CAP terms are eligible for reimbursement from Assurance Health Programs, LLC for up to $10,000 USD to go towards medical or surgical colic fees. Full details of the enrollment terms are listed on the Arenus website www.Arenus.ca.
Arenus has now expanded into Canada where the Assure line is known as the Secure line of products. The products are equivalent, but the name has changed in Canada for registration reasons.
To acquaint Canadian horse owners with Arenus nutraceutical products, we asked Dr. Altman to share his thoughts on the state of equine colic today, the success of the Assure/Secure product line, and the Colic Assurance Program.
How is the Secure line of products different from other products?
Our products are different in several ways. As a veterinarian and the owner and operator of a supplement company, I designed the Assure/Secure products as a solution to key problems that exist in equine digestive health. I wanted to ensure they could not just solve a problem but be the best solution available.
With my belief that supplements must be solutions, we as a company limit the products we develop to those that a veterinarian or veterinary clinic would be confident recommending.
All of our products are designed with the most advanced technologies and are well-researched. Multiple university-based studies involving the final finished formula have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
How long have the products been on the market?
Assure products have been on the market in the US for about 12 years, with the Secure products introduced to Canada in August of 2020. We started the Colic Assurance Program about three years ago.
How can clients purchase the products?
Secure can be purchased directly from us through the Arenus website www.Arenus.ca. But to ensure that Secure is properly incorporated into a complete GI health program, we prefer that clients purchase Secure products through their veterinarian.
What has changed over time to cause colic to be so prevalent?
Historically, the number one cause of colic was parasite infestation. But most well-managed horses today are on a good deworming program, and we rarely see horses that colic due to parasite causes. Still, the incidence of colic has not gone down.
So, what has replaced the cause of colic?
Most modern horses are in a state of continuous performance demand for training, the show ring, or even for a leisurely trail ride. Being in a state of constant, high performance can cause a lot of stress, and stress can lead directly to GI disturbance.
Horses’ genetics dictate that they live free, roaming large areas, but many horses live in a confinement-based management system of barn stalls with shorter periods of turnout. Instead of grazing and foraging full-time, now a big part of the diet of horses is concentrates, which they did not evolve to eat.
These dietary and environmental changes have contributed greatly to digestive disturbance in horses, and are the main underlying cause contributing to colic that we continue to see today.
Why do you think colic is such a common ailment today?
I view the horse population as living life on the edge (of colic). Colic is still the number one killer of horses, and some horses are more prone to it than others. When I developed Assure/Secure, my opinion was that every horse owned and managed by people had some level of digestive disturbance.
Why do horses colic? It is not caused by weather change, the noise from machinery, or the lack of water for a short period of time, but rather by underlying digestive disturbance. Those obvious events that we associate with the colic can be stressors for sure, but they simply act as the triggers to push the horse “over the edge.”
When combined with the everyday lifestyle stressors mentioned before, such as stall confinement, transport, feeding practices, and expectations of performance, it is easy to see why digestive disturbance like colic is so common in our horse population.
Can you provide more information on the Colic Assurance Program?
It is an assurance program: a product guarantee. It is the most comprehensive guarantee in the US market. I also believe it is the first and only one available in Canada. Most if not all other programs only cover for colic surgery and, if the horse has a prior history of colic, benefits are declined.
At Arenus, we know that when you place your horse on one of our digestive health products or programs, such as Secure Guard Gold, your horse’s risk of colic is reduced significantly.
In fact, even if your horse has suffered with recurrent/repeat colic episodes, not only will we still enroll your horse, we are confident we will reduce that risk substantially enough to place $10,000 on the line. That is a lifetime benefit limit, which covers both medical and surgical colic incidents. Believe it or not, we even enroll and cover horses that have gone through a prior colic surgery — not even equine medical insurance will do that!
Realize that we must know that our products work to back them up in this way, especially when you consider that US veterinary professionals are often referring many of their worst recurrent colic cases to us.
One of the really great parts of having the Assure products available in Canada as the Secure line is that not only can we offer the same great coverage in Canada, but, for horses being transported between Canada and the US, we have been able to drop most of the requirements normally associated with international travel.
For horses moving between Canada and the US, there is no reporting of international travel required and there is no requirement to increase dosing for travel. For owners, they can use Secure products when in Canada and Assure Products when in the US. Truly, a seamless and “borderless” program for Canadians!
Knowing that this is one of the pricier products on the market, we spared nothing in costs of production, especially research and development, to make sure that it is the most effective product and will help the vast majority of horses, especially those that are in serious need of support.
There is no limit to the number of horses an owner can enroll in the program and leased horses are also welcome.
More information on the company’s products and the Colic Assurance Program can be found on www.Arenus.ca.