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Microchipping FAQ - English

Q: When will microchipping be mandatory for horses?

A: Since January 1, 2019, freeze branding has no longer been done. All horses needing identification for registration are being microchipped and all horses racing in Canada will require to be microchipped by 2021 even if they have already been identified with a freeze brand.

Q. Why is microchipping mandatory on horses already identified with a freeze brand?

A: SC and USTA has decided that all race horses be microchipped by 2021. This will ensure that there is a unified approach and consistency with the identification of horses between both countries. This unified approach will facilitate traceability and identification at the racetrack and while crossing the US/Canada Border. Microchipping is also required for all horses being exported to foreign countries.

Q: What if I have no plans to transport my horse to the United States? Why does the horse need to be microchipped when it is already freeze branded?

A: The microchip is the new industry standard for the identification of the horse regardless of cross border travel.

Q. Why is the cost of microchipping the owner's responsibility when the horse is already identified with a freeze brand?

A: Along with being a more reliable method of identification, the chosen microchip has another great benefit for the owners as it is a less invasive and easy way of taking the temperature on the horse, simply scan the horse's neck to daily keep track of your horse's temperature.

The fee covers the cost of the microchip and the expenses associated with microchipping.

Q. Who can implant microchips?

A: SC identification technicians are fully trained to implant microchips.

For foals, SC technicians will collect hair sample for DNA testing, complete the white markings and colour report and record the microchip number into the SC database at the same time of microchipping. Members can also have their veterinarian to implant the microchip supplied by SC, once the microchip has been implanted by the veterinarian the SC technician will then pull hair for DNA testing, scan the microchip to record the number in to SC database and complete the marking report.

Q. Once my foals are microchipped and turned out, how do I identify them without a visible freeze brand or tattoo number?

A: Simply scan the horse's neck to find out the microchip number or, if you don't have a scanner, the HomeAgain microchips comes with a card and a tag with the microchip number on it. You can write the name of your foal on the card and attach the tag to its halter for easy identification.

Q. Why is the microchip implanted in the neck location and not the nasal location (upper lip)?

A: The nuchal (neck) location is the practice used internationally in the Standardbred industry including the location chosen by the USTA, it is important to be consistent within the industry.

Q. Will the implantation cause pain to my horse?

A: The welfare of the animal is most important to SC. The implantation procedure is quick, easy and non-traumatic for the animal. The implant area will be clipped cleaned and it only takes a couple seconds to insert the microchip.

Q. I have heard stories about the microchip migrating after a period of time, should this be a concern?

A: There is no migration concerns as long as the microchip has been properly implanted into the nuchal ligament. Glass-enclosed microchips were prone to movement but the HomeAgain TempScan microchip is encased in an insert micro-capsule made of bio-compatible material. The Bio-Bond enables the animal's tissue to permanently anchor the microchip at the desired anatomical site.

Q. Where can I purchase a scanner?

A: Universal HomeAgain Scanners can be purchased at a discounted price for SC members by contacting SC head office. Universal scanners can also be purchased through other channels on the internet but may not display the horse's temperature.

Q. Do microchips and/or scanners interfere or interact with an implanted cardiac device (pacemaker and defibrillator)?

A: The microchips implanted in horses are passive low frequency (LF) RFID at 134.2 kHz and do not have battery; therefore, do not emit a signal that interfere with pacemakers.

The reader generates an electromagnetic field that energizes the microchip. In some of in vitro studies carried out in the past, researchers found that if the reader field intensity is strong and if the pulse repetition rate is near heart signals, there may be potential electromagnetic interference (EMI). However, most authors of the studies believe that it poses no urgent health risks.

Whether a RFID reader may affect the pacemaker depends on many factors including field intensity, proximity, duration of exposure, antenna configuration, and pulse repetition rate.

Consequently, we recommend that a person using a pacemaker consult with their physician, since it will depend on the type of device. Modern pacemakers might have enhanced shielding, noise rejection circuits, improved sensing algorithms and effective filters that might not be affected by our continuous-wave RFID reader system.


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