Microchipping horses is an easy way of identification and has been necessary in order to obtain a passport, since 2009. It is a legal requirement for every horse to have a passport by 6 months of age, failure to do so can carry a fine of up to £5000.
Before microchipping your horse, a veterinary surgeon will run a microchip reader along his neck to check that a chip is not already in place. The chip to be implanted will then be read to ensure it is working and to verify the number. The area for implantation is on the left side of the neck, at the mid crest. A patch of hair will be removed and the area disinfected, a local anaesthetic may be injected. The microchip is then inserted using a wide bore needle and the microchip is scanned to ensure correct placement. Some bleeding may occur from the injection site. Very rarely a swelling may develop at the site of the microchip. In most cases this can be treated by draining any fluid that develops and with antibiotics. Occasionally the microchip may be lost and require replacing.
The microchip is accompanied by six self-adhesive bar codes which can be attached to a passport application and other associated paperwork. The bar code or microchip number should also be retained by both the veterinary surgeon and horse owner.