Equine Caregiver Information-Seeking Preferences: Surveys in the Midwest

Equine Caregiver Information-Seeking Preferences: Surveys in the Midwest

Accepted Manuscript Equine caregiver information-seeking preferences: Surveys in the Midwest H.K. Carroll, R.C. Bott-Knutson, S.L. Mastellar PII: S0...

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Accepted Manuscript Equine caregiver information-seeking preferences: Surveys in the Midwest H.K. Carroll, R.C. Bott-Knutson, S.L. Mastellar

PII:

S0737-0806(17)30746-3

DOI:

10.1016/j.jevs.2018.02.006

Reference:

YJEVS 2462

To appear in:

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science

Received Date: 19 November 2017 Revised Date:

4 February 2018

Accepted Date: 5 February 2018

Please cite this article as: Carroll HK, Bott-Knutson RC, Mastellar SL, Equine caregiver informationseeking preferences: Surveys in the Midwest, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (2018), doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2018.02.006. This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

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Equine caregiver information-seeking preferences: Surveys in the Midwest

2 H. K. Carrolla*, R. C. Bott-Knutsona,1 and S. L. Mastellara,2

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University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA

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44691 USA

Department of Animal Science, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA

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Present address: Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, South Dakota State

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Present address: The Ohio State University, Agricultural Technical Institute, Wooster, OH,

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State University, Animal Science Complex Box 2170, Brookings, SD 57007-0392. Email:

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[email protected]

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Correspondence should be sent to Heidi Carroll, Department of Animal Science, South Dakota

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Abstract

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Two surveys of equine owners/managers and professionals using convenience sampling via

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multi-modal distribution were conducted on perceptions of equid Health and Well-being (n =

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142) and equine Nutrition and Feeding practices (n = 151). Surveys were distributed in 2014-

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2015 (Health and Well-being) and 2016 (Nutrition and Feeding) to similar email lists and social

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media sites; both included questions regarding information-seeking preferences. Respondents

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were mostly female (62% Health and Well-being, 84% Nutrition and Feeding) and had over 20

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yrs of equine ownership/management experience (47% and 61%, respectively). Participants in

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the Nutrition and Feeding survey reported seeking information from veterinarians (77%),

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books/magazines (42%), horse enthusiasts (38%), friends/family (35%), Internet/social media

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(28%), feed company representative (28%), farrier (25%), scientific publications (25%),

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trainer/instructor (21%), equine nutritionist (19%), equine dentist (7%), extension specialist

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(7%), and radio (1%). The Health and Well-being survey requested information regarding

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participants’ likeliness (5-point Likert scale) of trusting various sources for animal well-being

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information. Respondents from the Health and Well-being survey indicated

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veterinarians/nutritionists (average = 4.5) and extension specialists/university personnel

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(average = 4.0) as their top two trusted sources of information, and local (average = 2.9) and

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national humane societies/rescues (average = 2.8) their least-trusted sources of information.

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These results elucidated the information-seeking preferences of horse owners from the Upper

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Midwest regarding two equine topics. Veterinarians are sought as a source of equine

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information in the Upper Midwest.

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Keywords: equine nutrition; information-seeking; veterinarian; horse owner preferences; well-

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being

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38 1. Introduction

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Knowledge, experience, and perceptions regarding equine care vary and studies characterizing

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information-seeking behaviors in the American Upper Midwest equine industry are lacking.

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Studies have examined information-seeking behaviors of equine owners in the United Kingdom

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[1] and the American competition industry [2], Tufts’ clientele [3], horse enthusiasts in the

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Netherlands [4], and Arizona livestock and equine producers [5]. This information is important

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for equine educators, extension personnel, and organizations for addressing needs and

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interests through educational outreach. Equine nutrition and health have been identified as

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topics of interest to members of the Midwest equine industry [6, 7]. As part of a broad

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assessment of industry perceptions in the Upper Midwest, two separate surveys were used.

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Questions regarding horse owners’ and professionals’ information-seeking behavior were asked

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in each survey. The objective of this project was to characterize the information-seeking

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preferences of equine owners/managers and industry professionals in the Upper Midwest.

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2. Materials & Methods

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This project utilized the results from two separate, larger survey projects to determine

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perceptions of equine industry professionals as well as horse owners and managers in the

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Upper Midwest regarding their information seeking preferences on equine topics. One survey

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focused on equine health and well-being [8] and the other focused on equine feeding practices

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and knowledge of equine nutrition [9]. Both surveys were promoted via articles on the SDSU

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Extension portal (http://igrow.org), news releases, and personal email invitations to South

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Dakota equine organizations. The Horse Health and Well-Being survey was the first large survey

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initiated in the target population and a longer period was necessary to gather responses on the

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topic; thus it was available from April 2014 to June 2015, while the Nutrition and Feeding

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Practices survey was available from September to October 2016. The surveys are available upon

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request. Approval was granted for the two separate surveys by the South Dakota State

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University (SDSU) Human Subjects Committee.

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2.1. Health and Well-being Survey

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Multi-modal distribution of the Horse Health and Well-Being survey [8] included the

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distribution of printed surveys in-person at equine-related events, an online version

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(QuestionPro Survey software), and mailings on an as-requested basis.

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Three specific survey questions were relevant to the current project’s goal.

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1) “We'd like to know what resources may be most beneficial to you regarding

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animal well-being issues and topics. Please check each item that you would

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find valuable as an animal owner/manager (check all that you prefer).”

Options included: Lecture presentations, Seminars by experts,

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Handouts/summaries, Fact sheets, Adult events/workshops,

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Emails/newsletter, and Youth events/workshops.

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2) “What resource or reference do YOU go to FIRST when you need information

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about animal health and well-being? Please list only ONE.”

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3) “Please indicate the likeliness that YOU would place your trust in the following

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sources (Internet search-key word search results, Scientific publications, Local

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humane societies or rescues, National humane societies or rescues, Government

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organizations, Veterinarian or nutritionist, Extension specialist or university

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personnel, and Other animal owners) as trustworthy, reliable, and unbiased for

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information about animal well-being.” Options included: Very Unlikely,

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Somewhat Unlikely, Undecided, Somewhat Likely, and Very Likely.

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2.2. Nutrition and Feeding Practices Survey

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The Nutrition and Feeding Practices survey [9] was developed as an online questionnaire

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(QuestionPro Survey Software). The target population was horse owners or facility managers in

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South Dakota or the bordering states.

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Two specific survey questions were relevant to the current project’s goal. 1) “Where do you seek information regarding equine nutrition and feeding

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practices (Select all that apply)?” Options included: Books/magazines,

Scientific publications, Internet/social media, Radio, Trainer/instructor,

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Veterinarian, Equine dentist (not a licensed Veterinarian), Farrier, Equine

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nutritionist, Feed company, Friends/family, Horse enthusiasts or other

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owners, Extension specialist, and Other.

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2) “Which resource(s) are most beneficial to you regarding equine feeding and nutrition topics (Select all that apply)? Options included: Lecture

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presentations, Seminars by experts, Handouts/summaries, Fact sheets, Adult

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events/workshops, Youth events/workshops, Email/newsletters, and Other.

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105 2.3. Data analysis

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True response rates were not calculated, as the total number of people reached was unknown.

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Since the surveys were separate projects and unique identifiers were not collected, there may

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be respondents that took both surveys. Descriptive statistics were performed on the relevant

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questions for each survey. The authors acknowledge the limitations of question design and

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methodology that exist to draw direct comparisons of these data.

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112 3. Results

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This short communication highlights the relevant questions to information-seeking behavior;

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full survey findings are discussed elsewhere [8, 9]. The Health and Well-being survey had 142

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respondents and the Nutrition and Feeding survey had 151 (Figure 1). The majority of

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respondents were female (Health and Well-being = 62%, n= 135; Nutrition and Feeding = 84%, n

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= 150) and indicated they had over 20 years of equine ownership/management experience

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(Health and Well-being = 47%, n = 131; Nutrition and Feeding = 62%, n = 149).

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Both surveys prompted respondents to identify their preferred informational sources (Table 1).

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The Health and Well-being survey also included an open-ended question asking what resource

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respondents seek first for animal health and well-being information. Respondents (n = 126)

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indicated that veterinarians (60%) are sought first followed by Internet (18%),

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books/journals/literature (6%), extension specialist or university personnel (3%), other equine

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professionals (2%), and laws/regulations (1%).

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The Health and Well-being survey asked the likeliness of trusting various sources for animal

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well-being information (Table 2). Respondents’ (n = 120) top two trusted sources of information

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included veterinarians/nutritionists (average score = 4.5) and extension specialists/university

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personnel (average = 4.0). The two sources of information revealed as the least likely trusted

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sources included local (average = 2.9) and national humane societies/rescues (average = 2.8).

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The Nutrition and Feeding survey respondents (n = 140) indicated that veterinarians are the

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most sought source for equine nutrition and feeding practices information (Figure 2); whereas

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radio (1%), equine dentists (7%), and extension specialists (7%) were the least sought sources.

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The most beneficial way of receiving equine information for the two topics surveyed differed

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(Table 1). Respondents of the Health and Well-being survey (n = 142) indicated seminars by

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experts (51%), youth event/workshops (49%), and adult event/workshops (43%) to be the most

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beneficial ways of receiving health and well-being information; whereas Nutrition and Feeding

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respondents (n = 151) indicated fact sheets (45%), email/newsletter (37%), and

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handout/summaries (37%) for nutrition and feeding practices information.

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4. Discussion

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These results identified the types of resources respondents preferred seeking regarding two

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equine topics. Equine topic may influence decisions to attend in person programming within

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Minnesota [7]. Respondent preferences for modes of communication regarding each topic vary

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(Table 1). For example, a youth event/workshop on a health and well-being topic might be

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better received than one on nutrition. Arizona producers indicated workshops, hands on field

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days, and web sites or social media as their top three preferred mechanisms for information

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delivery [5].

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Veterinarians are the most sought source of equine information regarding these two topics in

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the Upper Midwest. Previous literature also identifies veterinarians [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] as highly

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sought sources of equine information. Hockenhull and Creighton [1] found that equine topic

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influenced the preferred source of information sought as well as indicated demographic

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variables that may influence the likelihood of seeking a specific source. Respondents of the

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Health and Well-being survey indicated “veterinarians or nutritionists” were the most trusted

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source of information regarding that topic. Veterinarians may be useful in dissemination of

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equine health and nutrition information through partnerships with extension personnel and

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veterinary associations.

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It is interesting to note that “extension specialists or university personnel” were considered

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trusted sources of animal health and well-being information, but neither “extension specialists”

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nor “extension specialists or university personnel” were among the first sought resources for

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the topics. Previous literature has also identified that extension services may be underutilized

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by the equine industry [5, 7].

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169 5. Conclusions

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These results characterized information-seeking behavior of equine caregivers in the Upper

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Midwest regarding two equine topics: health and well-being and nutrition and feeding

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practices. Veterinarians are the preferred source of information on these topics and thus may

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be a valuable source to disseminate information. Awareness of perceived source

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trustworthiness and preferred mode of communication regarding equine information allows

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educators to effectively focus outreach efforts. Outreach professionals can better target the

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location and type of information shared based on these preferences.

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178 Acknowledgements

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We would like to thank equine and rodeo organizations of South Dakota and surrounding

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states, the South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association, and South Dakota State University

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students for their cooperation in and promotion of this survey project. This research did not

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receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit

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sectors. The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

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References

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[1] Hockenhull, J, Creighton E. A brief note on the information-seeking behavior of UK leisure

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horse owners. J Vet Behav 2013;8:106-110.

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[2] Lofgren, EA, Voigt, MA, Brady, CM. Information-seeking behavior of the horse competition industry: A demographic study. J Equine Vet Sci 2016;37:58-62. [3] Hoffman, CJ, Costa, LR, Freeman, LM. Survey of feeding practices, supplement use, and

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knowledge of equine nutrition among a subpopulation of horse owners in New England.

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J Equine Vet Sci 2009;29:719-726.

[4] Visser, K, VanWijk, E, Kortstee, H, Verstegen, J. Passion for horses: Improving horse welfare

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communication through identifying information search patterns, knowledge levels,

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beliefs, and daily practices of horse enthusiasts. J Vet Behav: Clin. Appl. Res. 2011;6:297.

198 199 200 201

[5] Greene, EA, AD Wright. Identifying equine-related cooperative extension program priorities in Arizona via a statewide survey. Journal NACAA. December 2017; 10:2. [6] Hartmann, KS, Liburt, NR, and Malinowski, K. Rutgers Equine Science Center Industry Needs Assessment Survey 2016. J Equine Vet Sci, 2017;48:1-8.

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[7] Martinson, KL, Hathaway, M, Wilson, JH, Gilkerson, B, Peterson, PR, and Del Vecchio, R. University of Minnesota horse owner survey: Building an equine extension program.

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Journal of Extension, 2006;44:1-8.

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[8] McNeill, LR, Bott, RC, Mastellar, SL, Djira, G, Carroll, HK. Perceptions of equid well being in South Dakota. J Appl Anim Welfare Sci 2017;1:40-68.

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[9] Rosenthal, EJ, Bott-Knutson, RC, Carroll, HK, Mastellar, SL. Assessment of Equine Feeding Practices and Knowledge of Equine Nutrition in the Midwest. 2017; Manuscript in press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2017.12.007.

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Figure captions Figure 1: Maps of survey respondents’ locations for the Health and Well-being survey (Figure 1a; from [5], counties) and the Nutrition and Feeding survey (Figure 1b; from [6], zip codes).

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Figure 2: Resources sought by Nutrition and Feeding survey respondents for equine nutrition and feeding practices information. Question was select all. Total survey respondents = 151; 11 blank responses for this question. Veterinarian Book/magazine Horse enthusiast/owner Friend/Family Internet/Social media Feed company Scientific publication Farrier Trainer/Instructor Equine nutritionist Extension specialist Equine dentist Radio

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11 10 1 0

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Sources of information

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100 Frequency

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Tables Table 1: Resources selected as the most beneficial way of receiving equine information by respondents in two surveys on their respective topics.1

Resources

Nutrition and Feeding Survey (n = 151)

Responses (%) 51

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Youth event/workshop

49

3

Adult event/workshop

43

28

Fact sheet

35

Email/newsletter

35

Lecture presentation

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23

Handout/summary

31

37

Blank responses

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29

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Seminar by experts

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Health and Well-being Survey (n = 142)

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Questions read “select all that apply” with same response items on each survey.

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Table 2: Likeliness that respondents of the Health and Well-being survey trusted the source as trustworthy, reliable, and unbiased for animal well-being information.1

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Frequency of Response2 Somewhat unlikely

Undecided

Veterinarian/Nutritionist

2

1

7

Extension specialists/university personnel

2

6

18

Scientific Publications

4

9

15

Other animal owners

4

6

Internet key word search

11

18

Government organization

14

Local humane society/rescue

22

National humane society/rescue

25

1

Very likely

Avg Score3

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4.5 ± 0.8

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4.0 ± 0.9

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3.9 ± 1.0

23

56

25

3.8 ± 1.0

21

56

12

3.3 ± 1.1

18

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37

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3.1 ± 1.2

22

30

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11

2.9 ± 1.3

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2.8 ± 1.3

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Source of information

Somewhat likely

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Very unlikely

Total survey responses = 142; blank responses = 22 for this question. Likert scale (1 = very unlikely, 2 = somewhat unlikely, 3 = undecided, 4 = somewhat likely, 5 = very likely). 3 Average score ± standard deviation.

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Highlights

Characterized information-seeking behavior of equine caregivers in Upper Midwest.



Veterinarians are the preferred source of information for several equine topics.



Stakeholders may prefer different modes of communication for different topics.

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Conflict of interest statement:

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This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-profit sectors. The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.