In the latest edition of Equine Disease Quarterly from the Department of Veterinarian Medicine at the University of Kentucky, Rebecca S . McConnico, DVM, PhD, Dipl . ACVIM (LA), a Professor of Agricultural Sciences at Louisiana Tech University discusses the importance of micro-chipping horses and other animals.
Veterinarians working with affected horses in the recent aftermath and recovery efforts in Texas and Florida from hurricanes Harvey and Irma are finding microchipping invaluable with the massive ongoing sheltering operations.
She writes, "With the growing occurrence and unpredictable nature of natural disasters, many horse owners are looking for ways to protect their animals. In addition to disasters, horse theft also is giving horse owners cause to look for guaranteed methods of identifying their horses. "
"Microchip identification is an excellent tool for improving the traceability of horses in disease outbreak scenarios and allows for the rapid and efficient management of investigations to minimize spread of contagious diseases in horses. Diseases such as equine herpes- viral myeloencephalopathy, strangles, influenza, salmonellosis, and others can spread rapidly and the ability to quickly identify animals aids veterinarians, farm managers, and other animal health professionals in developing the most appropriate action plan to protect them."
"Microchip implantation is safe, simple, and inexpensive and usually will last a horse’s entire life. The cost is generally about $50 to $75 and the chips currently being manufactured are functioning for 25 years or longer."
"The tiny, non-migratory chip is the size of a grain of rice and takes only seconds to implant with a small syringe by a veterinarian or other trained person. The chip is implanted halfway between the horse’s poll and withers, just below the mane in the nuchal ligament on the horse’s near (left) side. The injection site is cleaned and disinfected prior to injection and sometimes shaved, ensuring little to no occurrence of an adverse reaction.
"It is up to the owner to have that unique code maintained in personal medical records or registered with a commercially available and searchable database."
"A special handheld scanner is used to read the microchip through the skin of the animal. The scanner reads the number on the chip through radio frequency identification technology. Although there are several different companies manufacturing these microchips, most scanners are now considered universal as they are engineered to read a common frequency.
Microchipping became especially important in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustave, Ike, and Isaac in Louisiana when many horses were separated from their owners and needed to be identified in order to be reunited.
Veterinarians working with affected horses in the recent aftermath and recovery efforts in Texas and Florida from hurricanes Harvey and Irma are finding microchipping invaluable with the massive ongoing sheltering operations. There is really no down-side and no reason that a horse should not have microchip identification.