Equine Microchipping and Passports

Since February 2005 EU legislation has required that all owners obtain passports for each horse, pony, donkey and other equidae they own. The object of the legislation is to ensure that horses which have been treated with veterinary medicines not authorised for use in food-producing animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption. If the UK did not comply, we would run the risk of losing 70% of horse medicines. Without a valid Equine Passport accompanying the animal, it is illegal to sell or move your horse to a new keeper, to export your horse, to transport or use it in competition or for breeding. Passports must be available at all times, or be able to be produced without delay, should they be requested under certain conditions and there is a hefty fine for non compliance, up to £5,000.

Passports can be obtained from one of over 50 DEFRA authorised Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) in the UK. Once you have received the paper work from the particular PIO you need to fill out the owner details and get a ‘mark up’ or silhouette completed. If your horse is NOT microchipped this has to be done by a veterinary surgeon or an appointed person from the particular PIO; if your horse is microchipped then the mark up can be completed by the owner.

Since 2009, all foals must be microchipped within six months of life, and all horses which require new passports must also be microchipped beforehand. Microchips must be inserted by a veterinary surgeon.

Inserting Microchips

A tiny microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is implanted in the nuchal ligament on the left side of the horse's neck via a needle. The chip contains a unique individual identification number which is then stored along with your contact details on a national database. Usually the process is very quick and simple; however it does involve using a large needle for insertion, so needle shy animals may need to be sedated beforehand.

For more information about microchipping or passports please contact one of our Veterinary Nurses or veterinary receptionists on 01291 672637 who will be pleased to help you.


Our Main Vet Centre in Usk is supported by surgeries in Caerleon and Pontypool

Which enable us to provide veterinary services throughout Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen including Abergavenny, Gilwern, Goytre, Cwmbran, Chepstow, Blaenavon, Blackwood, Newbridge, Risca, Magor, Caldicot, Tintern and Trelleck.