Willingness of a Convenience Sample of Horse Owners to Use Stem Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Equine Tendon Injury and Factors that Influence This Decision

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Abstract

Stem cell therapies offer huge potential for the treatment of tendon injury in horses. However, the factors influencing clients' willingness to use these therapies have not yet been investigated. This study examines the willingness of a population of horse owners to choose stem cell therapy for the treatment of equine tendon injuries and the factors that may influence this choice including treatment cost and efficacy, veterinarian advice, client knowledge, and success stories. A short, anonymous questionnaire was delivered to a convenience sample of equine owners. Questions related to (1) respondent background; (2) prior experience with tendon injuries and their treatment; (3) willingness to use equine stem cell therapy; and (4) the importance of factors that may affect their decision to use the therapy. Responses were summarized using graphical methods and compared using Fisher exact test where appropriate. Fifty-four percent of our cohort (n = 113) reported they would be willing to use equine stem cell therapy, 6% were not willing, and 40% were unsure. When asked to rank factors that would influence their decision, scientific proof that the therapy works was ranked highest followed by veterinarian advice. This result may have been influenced by the high proportion of tertiary-educated respondents recruited in this study. This is the first reported study to investigate the willingness of a population of horse owners to use stem cell therapy for their horses. Results suggest that the majority of these equine owners may consider using stem cell therapies for their horses given a larger positive evidence base was provided for the therapy.

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