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The influenza virus is a significant cause of respiratory disease in horses. While the virus is usually self-limiting, many horses develop secondary bacterial infections which can result in severe pneumonias and increased recovery times. Horse owners/managers have the option of delaying treatment to see whether the infections occur or aggressively treating at the outset to ward off any infections. The economic considerations of the “treat now” versus “wait and see” alternatives include not only explicit treatment costs but also the extent to which the owner/manager prefers to avoid seeing the horse feeling poorly. The study uses a dichotomous choice experiment to estimate owner/manager willingness-to-pay to avoid illness in the horse. We measure the number of days the horse is ill and the expenses associated with that. These costs may include medication, veterinary visits, stabling at the vet clinic, and any other costs associated with treating a sick horse. We anticipate that in expectation, the cost of “treat now” will be less than the cost of “wait and see.” In addition, we anticipate that horse owners/managers will be willing to pay for treatment strategies which reduce lost training time and, simply, to avoid having their horse feel poorly.


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