A microchip is a small implant (about the size of a grain of rice) that has a unique serial code.

It is inserted via injection into the nuchal ligament on the left side of the horse’s neck. Insertion is usually well tolerated and complications are rare. Microchips are a permanent way of identifying a horse and are tamper-proof, so unlike other forms of identification, for example freeze-marking, they are a very reliable way to ensure horse and owner are reunited in the unfortunate event of a horse going missing. The serial code is linked with the owner’s details on a computerised database so it is important to keep your information on the database up to date.

Tracer_ImaxplusMicrochips…the legal part:

  • Inserting a microchip in horses is an act of veterinary surgery so can only be performed by a veterinary surgeon.
  • All horses, ponies, donkeys and mules born after 1st July 2009 must be microchipped within six months of birth, or by 31st December of the year of birth, whichever is later.
  • Horses born before 1st July 2009 which do not have an existing passport or microchip must be microchipped when the passport application is completed by your vet.

If your horse is not affected by these regulations (ie was born before 1st July 2009 and already has a passport), it is still recommended that it be microchipped as it is the best way of identifying a horse. Microchipping is not only beneficial for tracing a lost or stolen horse, but it also aids in disease surveillance and helps animal welfare organisations in cases of neglect.

For more information please feel free to give us a call to discuss microchipping with one of our vets, or see the DEFRA passport information website.

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Date: 23/04/2018

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