An estimation of US horse-owner/caregiver willingness-to-pay for
daily use and infectious upper respiratory disease treatment
M. L. KIBLER
* , D. L. PENDELL
, M. COSTANIGRO
and J. TRAUB-DARGATZ
Department of Agriculture, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA
Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
*Correspondence email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Received: 21.03.17; Accepted: 29.10.17
Background: Equine injury and disease cause two types of costs for those ﬁnancially responsible for treating and caring for the infected horse(s);
direct costs of treating the horse and indirect cost of lost use of the horse for a period of time to the user of the horse (daily horse use). Indirect costs
are more difﬁcult to estimate but pose signiﬁcant ﬁnancial implications for equine-owners/caregivers. Additionally, there exists a gap in existing research
regarding the valuation of infectious treatment options in horses.
Objective: To estimate the value a US horse-owner/caregiver places on daily horse use and describe respondents’ willingness-to-pay for various
attributes of equine treatment options.
Study design: Online questionnaire survey.
Methods: An online questionnaire was provided to equine-owners and caretakers, and owner demographic, horse care and horse use
information from respondents were requested. Additionally, respondents were presented with hypothetical disease treatment options with the
following attributes: daily dosage, number of days of rest required, route of administration and out-of-pocket cost to the owner/caretaker
through a choice experiment. Data were analysed using a rank-ordered logit analysis and willingness-to-pay estimates for daily use and treatment
options were calculated.
Results: Results suggest that the average horse-owner with an uninsured and insured horse is willing to pay $12.07 (95% conﬁdence interval: À$15.01,
À$9.69) and $17.95 (95% conﬁdence interval: À$25.30, À$11.20) per day to reduce lost use days required (due to need for rest) respectively.
Respondents showed preferences for oral administration over treatments requiring i.m. injections.
Main limitations: As this study employed an online survey it was subjected to self-selection bias and a sample size calculation was not performed.
Conclusions: Veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies may use these results when promoting various treatment options to horse-owners/
caregivers and in product development. Additionally, promotion efforts may be targeted towards equine-owners with higher daily use values (owners
with insured horses).
Keywords: horse; disease treatment preferences; willingness-to-pay; use values, best–worst choice experiment
Concerns associated with equine infectious disease outbreaks have
escalated in recent years. Assessing the economic costs of disease
outbreaks is critical in determining the optimal investment of resources in
prevention and treatment efforts for both the individual equine-owner and
the industry as a whole. The economic cost of a disease outbreak is the
summation of many components, but the costs borne by equine-owners
represents a substantial share, and can represent a signiﬁcant burden
when one considers the inherent losses associated with the inability of the
owner to use the horse during its recovery period [1,2]. Equine-owner’s
experience two types of costs when their horse develops an infectious
disease: 1) direct cost (e.g. veterinarian and treatment expense) and 2)
indirect cost (e.g. lost use of the horse). Direct costs are straightforward
and can be estimated using enterprise budgets . However, indirect costs
are harder to estimate and not readily available.
Only two known studies have investigated the value of daily use of a
horse to its owner. Conners et al.  reported owner estimated cost of
lost use as the value of daily use plus the direct cost for patient
management. However, the authors do not discuss how daily use values
were calculated. In an economic impact assessment of a West Nile Virus
outbreak in horses , the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
estimated the value of daily use as the average sale value of an equid
divided by the number of days of life expectancy and the weighted
average cost of maintaining an equid during the period of lost use. This
provides an estimated value of daily use based on market data, yet does
not include the indirect costs associated with the increased time spent
caring for sick animals, the emotional distress associated with it or value of
use. Moreover, these studies do not tell us how the value of daily use
varies depending on horse and owner characteristics.
value (DHUV), or, to be precise, how much horse-owners are willing to pay
to reduce, by a day, the length of an incapacitating respiratory disease in
their horse. Secondary objectives in this study include the assessment of
willingness-to-pay (WTP) for route of drug administration (oral or injection)
and daily frequency of dosing of a drug. Additionally, horse and owner
characteristics that may affect DHUV were evaluated to understand what
factors may inﬂuence DHUV.
Materials and methods
An online survey instrument was administered using Qualtrics.
electronic survey (Supplementary Item 1) along with an introduction letter
was sent via email by American Quarter Horse Association to their
members, by an equine industry internship organisation, posted on horse
Equine Veterinary Journal 50 (2018) 498–503 © 2017 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal ISSN 0425-1644