The tiny chip provides a permanent identification number for your horse. The number is unique in the world, and it cannot be altered. Horse owners use it for many different reasons, such as:
- Proof of ownership
- Theft protection and recovery
- Disaster recovery
- Health certificates
- Medical records
- Farm management
- Event entries
- Registry ID
- Sales documents
- Protection from slaughter
Frequently asked questions:
Where is the chip implanted? The chip goes into the nuchal ligament just below the mane about half way between the poll and withers on the left side.
Does the chip cause pain when injected? Will it interfere with my horse’s performance? Microchipping is a simple injection. It only takes seconds. Most horses don’t even flinch, and their performance is not compromised at all.
At what age can my horse be microchipped? Any age, from birth on.
How long does the chip last? Does it wear out? The chip is guaranteed for the lifetime of your horse. It will not wear out or fade.
Can I find the chip by feeling for it with my fingers? No, you cannot feel an implanted microchip; nor can your horse.
Can my horse feel anything when he is being scanned? The horse feels nothing at all when he is being ‘scanned.’
Can the microchip move around or ‘migrate’ after it is injected? No. Once properly installed, the chip will not migrate or move. It will be there when you need it. A study published in the Journal of The American Veterinary Medical Association (2003 223:1316-1319) revealed that microchips implanted in the nuchal ligament did not migrate.
The chip is invisible. How can it benefit my horse? Microchips provide the most reliable form of instant permanent ID. Rather than being on the outside of the horse, removable or alterable, the chip is safe and secure in the nuchal ligament. If your horse also has a brand, the chip and the brand can work together for double protection. The microchip is always there; able to be checked and verified immediately. When the chip number is recorded on documents, it immediately confirms with the pass of a scanner that the horse on the paperwork is the correct animal. Microchip numbers can be used as proof-positive when transporting, buying, selling, breeding, insuring, and protecting from disease.
Are there scanners ‘out there’ so that the chips in horses can be detected? Yes. Brand inspectors, law enforcement, animal control officers, disaster workers, veterinarians, rescues, slaughter facilities and many sale barns have scanners. With the beginning of the new National Animal ID System, scanners will be even more widespread.
How many types of chips and scanners are used in horses? You may hear of different brand names of chips and/or scanners. However, all microchip systems operate by sending and receiving radio wave signals. Microchips used in horses in the United States operate at the radio frequency of 125 kHz. Therefore, scanners operating at the matching 125 kHz frequency can read the chips, no matter who the manufacturer is. The system is very cross compatible.
How can the microchip help prevent my horse from being stolen? Your horse will have a unique, permanent and registered number. To law enforcement, it is the equivalent of a ‘Vehicle Identification Number’ for your horse. And it provides you with proof that it is YOUR horse. Thieves know how microchips work. They know what it means.
What about an emergency, a fire, flood, storm, etc.? DATAMARS works with national disaster preparedness groups across America. These groups are equipped with scanners. In times of natural disaster or emergency, scanning for microchips is the ideal and preferred method of locating owners of recovered horses.
The American Horse Council and the Equine Species Working Group have recommended to the USDA, among other things, that “Microchips are a cost efficient, readily available equine identification method already in use in equines. Existing microchip technologies should be incorporated into the NAIS for equines.”