Microchipping: Protecting Your Horse, Dog, and Cat Family

Microchipping: Protecting Your Horse, Dog, and Cat Family

Whinny’s Wisdoms

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

Hey everybody, Whinny here! As pet owners, we all share a profound bond with our four-legged companions (yes, mice can have companions, too!). They’re not just pets; they are beloved members of our families, providing us with unconditional love and unwavering loyalty. However, as responsible caretakers, it is our duty to ensure their safety and well-being. One essential step towards protecting our pets is microchipping. In this blog, we will explore the significance of microchipping for horses, dogs, and cats and how it can be a lifesaving measure in times of distress.

Peace of Mind

Losing a pet is every pet owner’s nightmare. The thought of our precious horse, dog, or cat wandering away and getting lost is heart-wrenching. Microchipping provides invaluable peace of mind, knowing that if the worst were to happen, there is a high chance of reuniting with our beloved companion. Unlike collars and tags that can break or fall off, a microchip is a permanent and tamper-proof identification method.

Efficient Identification

Collars with ID tags are a helpful identification tool, but they might not be foolproof. Microchipping, on the other hand, offers a reliable way to identify our pets beyond any doubt. Each microchip contains a unique identification number linked to the pet owner’s contact information in a secure database. If a lost horse, dog, or cat is found and scanned at a shelter or veterinary clinic, the microchip will reveal the owner’s details, leading to a swift reunion.

Safer Travel

Traveling with our pets can be a joyous experience, but it also comes with certain risks. Whether it’s a road trip, a visit to the park, or even an international journey, accidents can happen. Microchipping becomes particularly essential when traveling with horses, as they are often transported long distances. In case of an unforeseen escape or accident during travel, a microchip ensures that your horse, dog, or cat can be traced back to you, regardless of the location.

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Preventing Pet Theft

Sadly, pet theft is a reality we must acknowledge. Cats and dogs, in particular, are targets of theft due to their high demand. Microchipping acts as a powerful deterrent, as stolen pets can be easily identified, making them less attractive to potential thieves. Moreover, if a stolen pet is brought to a shelter or veterinarian, the microchip will reveal their true owner, helping to prevent heartbreak and anguish for both the pet and the rightful family.

Medical Assistance

In emergencies, our pets cannot communicate their medical history or pre-existing conditions. Microchipping includes medical information, making it easier for veterinarians to provide necessary treatment promptly. Additionally, it aids in reuniting lost pets with medical needs with their owners, ensuring they receive appropriate care without delay.

Microchips for FEI and USEF Horse Competitions

Microchipping has become a vital aspect of horse identification and safety in FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) and USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) horse competitions to provide a unique identification number that is linked to the horse’s official records. This identification method ensures accurate tracking of horses throughout their competitive careers, reducing the risk of identity disputes and enhancing overall competition integrity.

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For FEI competitions, microchipping is mandatory for all participating horses. The unique identification number is recorded in each horse’s passport, which contains essential information such as ownership details, veterinary records, and vaccination history. This system ensures that the correct horse is entered into each event and helps to prevent fraudulent practices. 

Similarly, USEF requires microchipping for all horses competing in licensed competitions. The microchipped identification number is linked to the horse’s USEF records, facilitating accurate tracking of results, ownership transfers, and age verification.


Microchipping is a simple yet powerful tool that strengthens the bond between humans and their cherished animals. The process is safe, minimally invasive, and brings numerous benefits that far outweigh any temporary discomfort. By getting our horses, dogs, and cats microchipped, we demonstrate our commitment to being responsible pet owners and safeguarding our furry family members.

Remember, the decision to microchip is an investment in your pet’s safety and well-being, and it may one day be the key to their safe return. Let’s ensure that our furry friends always find their way back into our loving arms, no matter where they wander.

You can call the humans here at Springhill Equine any time and add a microchip to your next appointment. The number is 352-472-1620.

Until next week!


P.S. Have you been checking out the videos over on my YouTube Channel? It’s a fantastic free resource, and my humans make new videos all the time! You can learn all kinds of stuff and get some entertainment at the same time. Don’t miss out!

Whinny’s Wisdoms is the official blog of Whinny the Clinic Mouse at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!

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Of Mice and Microchips

Of Mice and Microchips

Whinny’s Wisdoms

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

Hi everyone, Whinny here! As a Florida mouse, I know that summer brings not just bugs and humidity, but also hurricane season! The next few months will bring us the most active time for tropical storms so I decided to bring up about an important component protecting your horse in times of natural disasters or other adverse events – microchip identification.

If you love your horse (or dog, or cat, which also should be chipped, but I’m mostly talking about horses today) as much as most of the owners that come to my clinic, you want to do everything you can to protect him.  While there are things we can’t control about our horses’ health, providing a safe and reliable means of identifying them is sooo easy to do. A microchip is a solid way of proving ownership, not only in severe weather events where horses could go missing, but also in situations of theft or ownership disputes. In addition, many breed registries and show organizations require microchips nowadays.

What Is It?

A microchip is a tiny device about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted into your horse’s neck, under his mane, with a needle. The chip contains a 15-digit numerical code that is unique to your horse. It’s like the VIN number your car has, but for your horse. The number can’t be changed and is a reliable way to identify a horse. Once it’s inserted, anyone with a microchip scanner can read the number and look up the registration information to find out how to contact the owner.

Why It’s Useful

Microchips are a better method of identification than lip tattoos or brands. Have you tried deciphering a thoroughbred’s lip tattoo? It can be a guessing game, especially as the horse gets older. Brands can also be difficult to read, and they’re not usually unique to individual horses. Also, both can be altered.

Microchips are very common in dogs and cats, it’s often part of the routine healthcare performed when getting a new pet. There are many, many stories of lost or stolen pets being reunited with their families thanks to a chip, sometimes even years after going missing. While horses don’t wander off as often as cats  and dogs do, in the case of natural disasters or weather events, horses may have to be left outside and recovered after the danger has passed. They may end up a distance away from home. Rescuers attempting to reunite a displaced horse with its owner have quite a challenge. Think about how many bay geldings you know – I bet it’s a lot! But any horse with a microchip can be quickly and easily returned to its owner.

A microchip can be a great way of protecting your interests if you are buying or selling horses. A vet doing a pre-purchase exam on a horse can also make sure they have been presented with the correct horse to examine, protecting you as the buyer from potential fraud. On the other hand, when you sell a horse there is always some uncertainty about where your horse will wind up in the future. Equine rescue groups working with horses that have fallen on hard times can trace back the horse’s identification and potentially reunite them with a previous owner. Microchips can also be used to solve disputes about horse ownership. If you have a record of a horse’s microchip that lists you as the legal owner, you have a much stronger case to prove the horse is yours. Organizations such as the Equine Rescue Network are working to supply microchip scanners and volunteers to scan horses at auctions that may ship horses for slaughter. If the horse is microchipped, there is a chance the previous owner of a stolen or slaughter-bound horse may be able to be reached.

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As if all those reasons weren’t enough, many major breed registries and show organizations now require horses be microchipped with the 15-digit International Organization or Standardization (ISO) chips for identification. These include, just to name a few, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Jockey Club, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) and the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.

How It’s Done

It’s really not a big deal to put it in. Really, it’s downright easy. I saw Tony get his microchip and he didn’t even feel the need to bite the vet when she did it!

In horses, the microchip is implanted in the nuchal ligament on the left side of the neck, halfway between the poll and the withers, just below the base of the mane. My docs will do a sterile prep to make sure things are nice and clean, and then use a thingy that looks like a syringe and needle to put in the chip. It’s super quick and doesn’t take much longer than giving a vaccine. Depending on your horse’s personality, he may prefer a bit of sedation or some local anesthetic over the injection site. The chip is tiny and inert, so the vast majority of horses have no reaction to it, though a few might have a small swelling for a few days after insertion. The benefit of microchipping your horse definitely outweighs any risk.

After it’s in, my doc will wave a little hand-held scanner over your horse’s neck and make sure it reads the chip and then Presto! Your horse is legit.

My docs will make sure to use to use the approved ISO-compatible chips and record the number in your horse’s medical records. Then it’s up to you to register the code with your contact info and give the number to any breed registries or show organizations you belong to.

And what does this peace of mind cost? Hundreds? Thousands? Nope, it’s usually around $50 – $75 for the chip and the implantation, plus a little extra if your horse needs sedation or a farm call. Microchips usually last at least 25 years, so if that isn’t a good deal, I don’t know what is!

What It Does

  • Provides permanent identification that can’t be separated from your horse (or dog or cat) or changed
  • Helps recovery of your animal during a disaster
  • Helps prevent theft and fraud
  • Provides accurate identification for sales documentation
  • Provides accuracy for competitions and breed registries (and is often required)

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What It Doesn’t Do

  • It’s not a GPS tracker for your animal. You won’t be able to follow the chip to find his real-time location. (There are other devices that can do that though)
  • The microchip itself stores only the  identification number. Your contact info and info you enter about your horse is stored through the online registry when you register the chip. That’s why registration after the chip is implanted is critical. Failing to register the chip, update your contact info, or transfer records basically renders the chip useless.
  • There is no power supply (none is needed)
  • Unlike in cats and dogs, microchips implanted in the nuchal ligament of horses generally do not migrate away from the implantation site.
  • Chips are not a fail-safe that your horse will never end up in a bad situation. Slaughterhouses and auctions don’t routinely scan horses for microchips. Though like I said, equine rescue organizations are working to make this more commonplace.

So don’t wait until you are facing a situation where a chip could have helped you, because then it is too late. Microchip implantation is simple, safe, simple, and inexpensive. It’s an easy way to protect your horse that will last his entire life.

Until next week,


P.S. Word around the Clinic has it that Justin just finished writing Adventures of the Horse Doctor’s Husband 3, and it will be released on September 15th! Keep an eye on the Books Page of my website for links to purchase in the coming weeks, or get your signed copy at our annual Open House, which is coming up on September 30th!

Whinny’s Wisdoms is the official blog of Whinny the Clinic Mouse at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!

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Starvation, Breeding, and Microchips

Starvation, Breeding, and Microchips

Tuesdays with Tony

 How, you ask, are starvation, breeding, and microchips related? What weird cat logic is this? Read on and find out. I’m dropping some serious cat wisdom this week.


Recently Dr. Vurgason and Dr. Lacher had the daunting task of working with a group of 18 incredibly thin horses. Like, body condition score 1 out of 9 for a majority of these horses. Dr. Vurgason worked on one who was in such bad shape he was down for 24 hours because he didn’t have the muscle mass or energy reserves to stand. That’s bad! I hope to only be able to imagine how these horses felt. I’m the one starting to insist on dinner at 4:30 pm when it is never served before 5:30 pm. 

There were abrasions on hips because the skin couldn’t take the pressure of the bony points with absolutely no covering. Remember all that rain recently? Many of these horses have just about no hair thanks to horrible cases of rain rot. When I say this was a sad bunch of horses, I really, really mean it. Luckily they found their way to a great rescue (and, trust me, they aren’t all great). If these horses can handle the introduction of food over the next week or so, they’ll be ok.




The rescue that has this herd pulls a lot of horses from very low level auctions. The kill pen kind of auctions. I asked what breeds they see most often. My guess was going to be thoroughbreds. Yvonne told me my fine feline instincts were wrong. At first I was horrified to be wrong, but then I listened, and learned. Most are Quarter Horses, followed by Standardbreds, and draft breeds. 

Why is it Quarter Horses? Because of the huge breeding operations that exist with little outlet for the ones that “don’t cut it.” Literally don’t cut it, since many of these are breeding for horses that work cows. I beg of you guys out there looking at pretty stallion pictures right now, anxiously awaiting the upcoming breeding season. THINK about whether this is something you really want and need to do. Could you find the horse you’re looking for without having to breed? Is your mare so special that it has to be her? 

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I don’t mean to take away from your horse, I mean to have you think about breeding. There are tons of great horses in backyards starving, and in kill pen auctions. What would it mean to a horse to never have to end up there? How great would it be to check out the foals, weanlings, yearlings, or even two year olds at a great breeding program, and pick out the one that was the color and sex you wanted? Let me tell you, that never happens when you breed your own. Just ask Dr. Lacher, who prefers geldings, and got 4 fillies and 1 sweet but not-talented gelding.




How the heck do microchips end up in this story? Simple. At one time, these horses were likely bred or owned by someone who hoped for the best for them. That’s not how their lives ended up. If those owners had microchipped these horses, they would at least have a way to be contacted. We talk about microchips most frequently when it comes to natural disasters, or downed fence lines, but what if you got a call about a horse you sold 10 years ago? I’m guessing most of you would want to know that horse would have a soft place to land. So microchip your horses. It can do way more than bring them back if they’re wandering lost after a hurricane. 

The unwanted horse is an incredibly complicated problem. They are big, expensive animals. If each and every person in the horse industry took a moment to be sure they were helping, and not contributing to the issue, we could reduce the suffering of horses. I have faith in you humans, even if I don’t usually come across that way.

Now be a good human and subscribe to my weekly drop of cat wisdom. 

Until next week,


P.S. I know I usually remind you about the podcast that the humans do, which is pretty popular. You should definitely check that out. However, this week is a special announcement! The humans, or Dr. Lacher’s husband, in particular, have published a book called Adventures of the Horse Doctor’s Husband. It’s pretty good, and I’m not just saying that because I have a cameo appearance in it. Speaking of rescuing horses in bad situations, remember Highway, the horse that fell out of the moving trailer last winter? You’ll recognize him on the cover, and if you buy the book, you’ll be making a contribution to him. It’s a win-win for everyone. Just click on the banner below to learn more about the book. 

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!

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Why You Should Microchip Your Animals

Why You Should Microchip Your Animals

Tuesdays with Tony

Why Microchip?

This morning sucked. That’s the only way to put it. Around 6:30 am I was rousted from a sound sleep by a flash of light, followed by an earth-shaking boom. Then the power went out. When the power goes out around here, it’s followed by a whole lot of things beeping, loudly and insistently rather like those puppies you humans think are cute. All this beeping was followed by the sharp rattle of hail against the windows, the roar of wind, and the splatter of rain. I’m not going to lie: Teannie and I were hunkered down together under a desk. Once my minions arrived, I heard the world outside was even worse. Trees were down everywhere, and power was out. There was even discussion of a tornado.

Out of nowhere

Sure, we had a bit of a heads up from the weather folks that a line of thunderstorms was going to come through, but, heck, we live in Florida. That’s every day during the summer. I know Dr. Lacher had at least two trees down near fences and spent 30 minutes chainsawing her way out of the driveway. Luckily, all her outside fencelines were intact, but what if they hadn’t been?

With hurricanes we have agonizing days of watching it track towards us. Will it hit? Will it veer away? You have time to write your name on your horse’s side, braid ID tags into manes and tails, put leather halters on, and have a plan. I don’t know about you, but I was snoozing at 6:29 am, not figuring out how to save my butt if I got lost.

If only there was a way

To permanently identify a horse, that didn’t wash off, was always with them, and never needed to be charged or have its batteries changed. Ah but there is: the microchip. And yes, you’ve heard this from me before. That’s because microchips are a really good idea. Every horse, dog, cat, and family members you don’t want to lose should be microchipped, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Microchips are there 24/7/365. If there’s a sudden storm, the fence goes down, or someone leaves a gate open accidentally, the microchip is there ready to let law enforcement or veterinarians know who this horse is and how to contact you.

Is it difficult to microchip a horse?

Putting in a microchip is super easy. If you don’t believe me, watch this video. My Docs scrub a spot, put a dollop of novocaine under the skin, and inject the microchip.  The hardest part is filling out the paperwork. Even that’s not super-difficult. Pro tip from the cat: there are slots for four phone numbers. Pick one that belongs to someone who lives far away from you. This way if you get hit by a natural disaster, there’s still a working phone number rescuers can reach. For example, if you live in Newberry (like me), pick your friend in Atlanta. Both of those areas are unlikely to be hit by hurricanes at the same time.

Now you know how easy it is to keep your horse identifiable all the time. Next step is to call 352-472-1620, email, or live chat from the website with my minions to set up an appointment. Oh and be a good human: scroll down a little farther and subscribe to my blog!

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Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Office Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!

Tuesdays with Tony – Hurricane Prep

Tuesdays with Tony – Hurricane Prep

I realize I may sound like a broken record this time of year, but sometimes you humans don’t listen so well. Cats listen to everything. We might ignore you, but we do hear you. ‘Tis the season for me to chat with you about hurricane preparedness.


The Bare Necessities


As I sit here watching it torrentially rain, I remember back to last year when Hermine made the power go out for three days. I learned humans require a substance called coffee, which requires electricity, and horses drink A LOT of water, which requires a pump, which requires electricity! Electricity has a nasty tendency to go away during hurricanes.


Take a look around your farm and decide who needs what to tough it out for 5-7 days. For the animals, that is feed, hay, and water. For the humans, that’s coffee, water, and food that doesn’t need refrigeration.  Can you provide these things without electricity?


Anticipate 15 gallons of water per horse per day, along with 1 gallon per human per day, and another ¾ per dog and cat per day. This water can be stored in large trash cans (clean ones, obviously!), or those big water troughs. Water can be purified with 6 drops of bleach per gallon if necessary. Be sure any feed and hay you’ve stocked up on is way, way above what you could possibly in your wildest dreams consider a high water level. Ask the nice people in St. Augustine how high water can get without the hurricane even making landfall!


Be Safe


Now is the time to examine your fences, property, and barn for anything that can become debris during hurricanes. High winds, during even afternoon thunderstorms, can pick up old boards, sheets of roofing tin, or even fencing wire and send it flying around your farm. Horses seem to have a special magnetism for injuries from these scenarios. Keeping these “junk piles” every human seems to have securely covered or tied down is key to an injury-free hurricane experience.


Eyeball your farm for other hazards that may occur. A biggie is downed power lines. Figure out where you can safely put your animals so that even if lines come down, they won’t be able to go near them. Approach deep water areas the same way.


Speaking of keeping your animals safe during storms, we recommend big stuff like horses and cows stay outside during bad storms if at all possible. This gives them the best opportunity to move away from flying debris, downed trees, and other fun hurricane happenings. We recommend small critters, like dogs and cats, stay inside to prevent them from doing the full-on freakout and running away.  


Find your way home


Microchips. Best way for your horse, or dog, or cat, or grandparent (ok just kidding on that one, sort of) to find their way home is with a properly registered microchip. Microchips are easy to place, simple to register, and provide 24/7 lifetime identification for your horse.


For the humans though, have a family plan for how you will meet up if a storm prevents you from returning home. Pick a point person, whom everyone knows, that lives outside of the potential disaster area. Let’s be real here: for hurricanes, that means someone outside of Florida. This is a person any family member can contact to check-in. Having a far away point person can be a lifesaver (literally) in these situations.


There are tons of resources out there about hurricane preparedness and farms. Go find them, read them, and form a plan. Don’t be the cat left out in the rain: Be prepared for hurricane season!!

Tuesdays with Tony – Microchips

Tuesdays with Tony – Microchips


I like to wander sometimes. I once went to a new farm for Thanksgiving weekend. Another time, a client had a two-horse trailer, and four horses that needed Coggins tests. I decided to go home with them after the first round, check out their farm, and then return to the Clinic with them. That’s not quite how the humans saw my adventure, but that’s what I was up to. Why do I bring up my little reconnaissance missions? Microchips. That’s why. I’m chipped, Teannie is chipped, and all my minions have their horses chipped. Read on and I will let you know why every animal should be chipped.


Hurricanes Happen


June 1st through November there’s this great add-on season in Florida. It’s called Hurricane Season. I love watching the humans compare weather apps, Florida Storms Twitter feed, and stalk Jim Cantore like he’s the latest, greatest teenage boy band member.


equine microchipYou humans do this so you can be prepared for the pandemonium and chaos caused by hurricanes. They take down trees, annihilate power lines, and take down fences. All this leads to fantastic opportunities for your horses (and cats, and dogs) to explore the neighborhood without proper adult supervision. Microchips ensure the nice people who find your horse (or dog, or cat) can easily return them to you! Microchips are the reason nearly all horses were successfully reunited with their owners after Hurricane Katrina.


The Rules


Admittedly, I’m not one for rules. They say ‘don’t get on the keyboard’, I say ‘watch how many keys I can press in one pass’. However, I can get behind the microchip rules several organizations are putting in place. The Jockey Club began requiring microchips for Thoroughbreds for 2017. No more trying to figure out if that’s a F or an A or a B or an E on that lip tattoo!


US Equestrian has also put in a rule that all horses showing in USHJA divisions are microchipped beginning December 2017. This should reduce the, umm, inappropriate identity changes some horses get so they can stay in certain divisions.


Permanent Identification


The number one thing microchips provide is a permanent, unalterable way to identify a horse (or cat, or dog). Now, you may have read stories on the internet about how someone changed a microchip number, or removed one from a horse. Take it from this cat: not everything you read on the internet is true! I know it’s hard to believe, but the 52 thoroughbreds all have homes, and microchips can’t be removed or altered.


Be Prepared


Hurricane season is coming, and so is December 2017. No matter your reason, your horse should be microchipped. What if the unimaginable happened, and it was a picture of your horses walking down the side of the highway that was making the rounds on Facebook? I know it would be worth $60 to you for the sheriff’s department to be able to find out who they belong to and get them home safely. Not everyone is a celebrity cat like me, after all.