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Implanting a Microchip

Instructions, including video and pictures, to correctly implant an identification microchip in your horse.

About Microchipping Horses

  • Microchipping Horses is a way to identify a horse through a electronic RFID micro chip that has been implanted in the nuchal ligament on the left side of the horses neck halfway between the poll and withers. The implantation site is approximately 2 inches below the mane line.
  • The microchip is an identification method being researched by the National Animal Identification System in the United States to establish a national system to identify horses and equine premises that are part of the system and to record animal movements for purposes of disease control.
  • This National Animal Identification System would allow the “trace back” within 48 hours of a confirmed diagnosis of a serious animal disease and to assist in lost or stolen horses and/or equines.
  • The RFID chip is an electronic device implanted into the horse similar to how dogs and other animals currently are implanted with microchips.
  • Horses implanted with a chip can be identified when stolen or lost and returned to their current premise.
  • The veterinarian could implant the microchip into your horse.
  • Your horse may have a sore or stiff neck for a few days after the implantation, so plan exercise and competition schedules accordingly.
  • The microchip does not migrate in the horse’s neck.
  • The microchip would be registered with the National Animal Identification System.
  • You may never need to have your horse scanned, but if you do the scanner will recognize the microchip and identify your horse if and when the need arises.
  • You do not need to purchase a scanner.
  • If you have your horse microchipped, keep the bar code with the number and any verification or certificate you receive with records.
  • The owner is responsible for reporting the number of the chip to their breed associate if their horse is a registered animal. Send a copy of the original barcode with number and/or verification certificate.

Microchip Implantation Procedure

  • If the horse needs restraint for the chipping process, the performing veterinarian would first discuss further action with the horse owner. If agreed to continue with the implanting process, the veterinarian would first attempt the use of a twitch.
  • Left hand side of the horse’s neck will be scanned by the compatible RFID scanner to assure the horse has not been previously implanted with an identifying microchip.
  • Microchip that is to be implanted will be scanned before implantation to assure compatibility with the scanner.
  • Left side of the horse’s neck approximately two inches below the mane line halfway between the poll and withers will be disinfected with either Nolvasan Scrub and/or Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol.
  • A trained and accredited veterinarian will implant the electronic RFID micro-chip device into the nuchal ligament on the left side, in the middle third of the neck, halfway between the ears and the withers.
  • The injection site will be re-scanned immediately after implantation, to assure the micro-chip is implanted and is functional.
  • After a pre-determined time (week(s)/month(s)) the horse will be re-scanned to assure that the micro-chip is implanted and functioning properly.

Side Effects

  • stiffness and soreness
  • abscesses
  • similar discomfort/ pain as that during a routine intramuscular injection

Frequently asked Questions

Will I be able to exercise/ride my horse immediately after implantation?

Horses may exhibit soreness and stiffness for a day or two after the implantation. Horse’s activities may need to be limited for a day or two. It is advised to chip a horse when it has a day off time from strenuous activities and/or competitions.

Could the chip migrate?

The micro-chip is implanted in the nuchal ligament and has very little chance of migrating.

How easy is it to remove the microchip after implantation?

It would be difficult, next to impossible, to remove the micro-chip after implantation.

Could my horse get sick or ill from the implantation of the microchip?

Anytime a horse has an injection there is a possibility of side effects such as; an abscess or infection. The chip itself should not cause a reaction problem. If complications occur with the horse following the chipping procedure the horse owner is responsible for obtaining their own veterinarian to address the difficulty.

Video: Implanting the Microchip

Video demonstrating the process to implant an identification microchip.

Now that my Horse is Chipped, What do I do?

If you have had your horse implanted with a RFID government-approved microchip transponder you may want to attach this information to important documents that accompany your ownership of your horse. Your horse(s) was implanted, for the horse’s protection, with a RFID Microchip in the nuchal ligament halfway between the poll and withers on the left hand side of the horse’s neck. The implantation site is approximately 2 inches below the mane line of the horse.

What do you do if your horse is registered with a Breed Association?

With each microchip is an official barcode label. This is the barcode number, Microchip Identification Number or AIN, that matches the microchip that is implanted in your horse. Breed Associations would like to enter into their records, along with registration/transfer information the Microchip Identification Number or AIN. If your horse is registered with a Breed Association, contact them and inquire how they would like you to proceed in documenting the chip barcode number on registration papers. The microchip is part of the horse’s identification information and is recorded by breed associations just as markings and any other type of identification. Pass this information along to any new owner if at any time the horse is sold or changes ownership.

What if my horse is not registered with a breed association?

With each microchip is an official barcode label. This is the barcode number, Microchip Identification Number or AIN, that matches the microchip that is implanted in your horse. The microchip is part of the horse’s identification information and should be kept in a safe location. Pass this information along to any new owner if at any time the horse is sold or changes ownership.

Optional

When you obtain an Equine Infectious Anemia Laboratory Test (Coggins Test) inform the performing veterinarian that your horse has been implanted with a RFID microchip and have the barcode number available for the veterinarian. The veterinarian may choose to include this information on the coggins test results. It is not necessary to place a bar code on the coggins results just the barcode number.