Trial shows treatment convenience important to horse owners

Wisconsin State Farmer

Veterinarians often assume horse owners will prefer the lowest-cost treatment option if it provides equivalent efficacy to a higher-priced alternative. However, this assumption leaves out two key factors: treatment compliance and client convenience.

To provide veterinarians confidence in their treatment recommendations, Zoetis examined veterinarian as well as horse owner preference and satisfaction between two efficacious treatments for equine bacterial infections. 

Horse owners were given the choice of two anti-infective treatment regimens:

1.    Intramuscular (IM) injection with EXCEDE® (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Solution administered by the veterinarian four days apart, or

2.    Client administration of oral trimethoprim-sulfonamide (TMS) tablets twice daily for 10 consecutive days.

Horses were examined on Day 4 to evaluate treatment response, administer the second IM dose to horses being treated with EXCEDE and, in the case of the TMS group, to verify compliance in administering oral AIF medication. The study examined 27 veterinarians from 11 equine practices in various regions of the U.S. In total, the treatment of 137 horses was included.

Overwhelmingly, 93.1 percent of horse owners selected two doses of EXCEDE over twice-daily oral TMS treatment for 10 days.

The average treatment response scores for both AIF regimens were comparable at Days 0 and 10. However, 100 percent of the horses treated with EXCEDE achieved full treatment compliance compared with 75 percent of horses treated with oral TMS tablets.

Notably, there was a wide variance in the veterinarian’s pre-treatment cost estimate per horse with the estimated cost of EXCEDE more than double that of TMS (Table 1). However, the pre-treatment estimate differed markedly from the actual costs incurred. In the average actual cost, treatment with EXCEDE was just $20.80 greater than the TMS treatment.

In a post-treatment survey, convenience was judged more important than price in the horse owner’s perception of value, with mean scores of 4.3 versus 3.5, respectively. The item with the greatest score differential was convenience, where EXCEDE had a near-perfect average score of 4.8 versus 3.0 for TMS. Overall client satisfaction when EXCEDE was selected had a mean score of 4.7, approaching the maximum possible score of 5.0.

The trial proved horse owners overwhelmingly prefer the most convenient therapeutic option despite higher cost. To learn more about the study or the benefits of EXCEDE, talk with your Zoetis representative or visit

Important safety information

People with known hypersensitivity to penicillin or cephalosporins should avoid exposure to EXCEDE. EXCEDE is contraindicated in animals with known allergy to ceftiofur or to the β-lactam group (penicillins and cephalosporins) of antimicrobials. Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. The administration of antimicrobials in horses under conditions of stress may be associated with diarrhea, which may require appropriate veterinary therapy. See full Prescribing Information.

By Mark Crisman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, equine technical services veterinarian, Zoetis