"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Thursday, June 6, 2013

SmartDigest Ultra

Just got a call from Smartpak. It was a different number, so my phone didn't recognize it.

Almost a month ago, I wrote a review for SmartDigest Ultra. I don't remember if I posted about it here, but I kind of ranted about it on FB. I had started Lily on UGard from the moment she became mine, simply because she can be such a little worrywart herself (I complain, but the mare and I are cut out of the same mold. Seriously.) This seemed to work very well, combined with Ration Plus (a liquid prebiotic that smells awesomely like brewer's yeast, if you like that smell like I do) and Ex Stress as a calming supplement (it has a high B1 and magnesium content, and she eats it in the pellet form). I had d/c'd the Ration Plus during the move to MD, as, being a liquid, it would have been a pain in the ass for the guys to feed. I did keep her on UGard up until about 4 months ago. She was having random soft stools, and a couple of times I'd find a pile of diarrhea in her stall, which was odd. She'd never done that before, and this was around the time in late winter when she was losing weight. SmartDigest Ultra isn't really geared towards preventing ulcers, but it is meant for maintaining a healthy digestive tract and is loaded with pre and probiotics, so I decided to give it a shot. Plus the ColiCare program was a nice bonus. Since I couldn't prove that she needed to be on the UGard, and it was a lot of money for both supplements plus the ones she is on already (I'm a supplement whore, ok? One day I'll post about all the shit I have her on), and I felt like she needed the probiotics more at this time, I cancelled the UGard when I added the SDU.

I made the mistake of not ordering the trial pack, and of course, the one time I don't do that, Lily decides she hates the supplement. HATES it. She would not eat it. She would not finish her grain, which wasn't helping her weight loss problem. SDU is only available as a powder, which would have worked if Lily's diet were mainly beet pulp like it used to be in South FL, but she is on Triple Crown Low Starch mixed with Legends hay stretcher: all pelleted. So any powdered supplements go to the bottom of her feeder, where it is easy for her to avoid them altogether. Thus why I have ALL of her supplements in pelleted form.

I contacted Smartpak at the time, and was told that they didn't really have plans on making SDU in a pelleted form in the near future, and recommended SmartCombo Ultra, which would allow Lily to continue in the Colicare program, and is available as a pellet. However, at $115 for a month's supply, it was a lot, especially when I still would need to have her on her other pricey supplements, like the ExStress, which is $48 for a 28 day supply. Plus I didn't really want any of the other supplements included in SmartCombo Ultra; I just wanted the SDU, but in a pellet. They had a lot of helpful suggestions for getting Lily to eat the SDU, which gave me the idea of buying hay cubes. I started mixing her leftover grain and SDU with the soaked cubes, which she would eat. So I was getting the stuff into her. And she really didn't have any more diarrhea or soft stools while on it, so I can tell you that for that kind of issue, it really does work.

Fast forward a couple months to her on stall rest with limited exercise, and she develops a sensitive belly. I was PISSED. I was so mad. Mad that I had switched her supplements, mad that SDU doesn't really protect against ulcers and I had just been the guinea pig, and mad about a supplement being touted as a wonderful digestive support supplement but not containing any kind of acid buffer (which I already knew and it's my own damn fault for d/cing the UGard, but SDU really would be the perfect digestive supplement if it had a buffer too). If I wanted a Smartpak brand ulcer protectant, I'd have to put her on an entirely different and/or additional supplement: SmartGut. Which is $40/month. GRRRRR!

So after some hemming and hawing, and tallying up our dwindling finances after all of Lily's medical bills, I ended up cancelling the SDU, put Lily back on UGard and Ration Plus (since I was now mixing alfalfa with the hay cubes to act as a stomach buffer and giving the mix myself, I could now give her liquid supplements), and wrote an honest review of SDU on the Smartpak site. I was very matter-of-fact, but I did go into detail about what had happened and the management changes that had and hadn't occurred (I didn't curse nor sound angry, which I certainly was at the time...it was right after dropping $300 on ulcer meds for Lily. Yay credit cards!). My thought was that there are a lot of reviews for SDU from people seeking gastric support after ulcer diagnosis or to prevent them, which can lead to a lot of confusion regarding this supplement's correct use. So I was really peeved when they didn't publish my review. In fact, they still haven't published that review, and it's been over a month. I'm wondering if this is a new thing with them, where they are only publishing positive reviews on their supplements. I hope not; this company has always been so honest and helpful.

And then this phone call today. I was pleasantly surprised, actually. They had gone over my review of their product, and their higher-ups were looking into improving SDU. Apparently the review had caused some waves. The rep on the phone mentioned that she had noticed I'd put Lily back on the UGard and Ration Plus, and then went on to recommend SmartGut. I had really considered it, but it is twice the price of the UGard pellets, and I know the UGard worked for her for sure. So the mare stays on her current supplements. It was nice to have them call, though, and make an effort at keeping one of their bazillion customers happy. One of the many reasons why I love Smartpak.

So hey - if SmartDigest Ultra becomes available in pelleted form in the near future: you're welcome! :)

Don't get me wrong - this is a great supplement. If your horse is having issues with soft stool, is an older guy that keeps losing weight, or you're looking for a probiotic supplement, you should definitely give this a go.
 And if you don't want to insure your horse or he already has a history of colic that will prevent him from being covered for colic surgery insurance-wise, or simply tends to colic a lot, you should totally get your horse on this supplement, if only for the ColiCare program. It covers your horse for colic surgery up to $7500.
Just don't expect it to prevent ulcers. You need either an omeprazole product, or something containing calcium and magnesium, like UGard or SmartGut, to act as an acid buffer in the stomach.


  1. The woman who developed SmartSupplements when I worked there (she still works there, but I'm not 100% sure what her role is now) is an amazing person. Bright, and extremely customer focused. I'm not surprised they called you personally about this, because they do an exceptional job with the development of their Smartsupps.

    1. I love their stuff. I was really excited when I read years ago that a lot of their supplements have been developed with Dr. Eleanor Kellon, too. I'm a huge fan of her equine nutrition studies and have her nutraceuticals book. So that is yet another reason why I normally don't think twice about putting Lily on any of their SmartSupplements. :) I'd totally have her on SmartGut instead of UGard if it weren't for the difference in cost.

      They really are the best company ever; I have yet to see ANY company with that kind of customer service. They are amazing. I still have the card they sent me when I cancelled my Paso Fino's supplements after he died last year.