Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. C. Jill Stowe

Abstract

The equine influenza virus is a significant cause of respiratory disease in horses. Even though horses generally recover from this virus, sometimes horses with equine influenza develop secondary bacterial infections which can cause severe pneumonia, thereby increasing recovery times. Owners and managers are faced with the decision of whether to delay preventative treatment in hopes of the horse avoids contracting a secondary bacterial infection (“wait and see”) or aggressively treat the horse with an antibiotic in hopes of avoiding a serious infection (“treat now”). From a decision making standpoint, the economic considerations include explicit treatment costs as well as nonmonetary costs the owner or manager bear when caring for an ill horse.

This study investigating horse owner/manager preferences for treatment alternatives is approached in two parts. The first part of the study collects data from field practitioners to estimate the cost of treatment strategies under different scenarios. The second part consists of a questionnaire presented to horse owners and managers and includes four choices between alternative treatment strategies. Analyzing the data using a conjoint analysis approach, respondents’ willingness to pay for different elements of a treatment strategy are estimated. Based on treatment strategies and demographic interactions, a respondent was willing to pay to cover the cost of a horse who became ill with the equine influenza, but individual price sensitivities suggested horse owners and managers are willing to “treat now” versus “wait and see” in order to not see their horse feel poorly and miss training time.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.046

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