A University of Kentucky researcher is to study the economic considerations behind two treatment strategies for equine influenza.
The research by Jill Stowe, director of the university’s Ag Equine Programs and associate professor within the Department of Agricultural Economics, will be funded by animal health company Zoetis.
Stowe will investigate the economics of two fundamental strategies in horses suffering from influenza – whether to aggressively seek treatment at the outset in hopes of warding off potential secondary bacterial infections, or waiting to see if any secondary infections develop before treating.
Influenza is not treatable and must run its course, but many horses develop secondary bacterial infections, which can lead to pneumonia and prolong recovery time.
Stowe’s work will explore not only the economic considerations, such as treatment costs, but also the extent to which caregivers want to avoid having a horse feel poorly.
The first part of the study will be an examination of the cost of both strategies; the second will examine the willingness of caregivers to pay for their horse to avoid illness.
The study is expected to cost about $US57,000.