Should I Microchip or Freeze Brand?

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Microchipping and freeze branding are both used to identify horses and prevent theft. While each has been shown to cause little physical or psychological stress if executed properly, you should consider each method carefully before making a final decision.

Micro chipping your horse

Microchipping is a simple procedure that won’t leave a visible brand on your horse’s neck or shoulder. Quick and simple, the procedure is administered by a qualified veterinarian using a local anaesthetic so your horse is comfortable.

Some breed associations require micro chipping by law, so be familiar with what’s required where you live. Microchipping is often the choice of identification for pleasure and performance horses outside Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing.

Freeze branding your horse

In contrast, freeze branding is mandatory for Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses involved in racing. For Thoroughbreds, the brand is placed on the shoulder, whereas Standardbreds carry the brand on their neck.

Virtually painless and economical, this procedure is also carried out by a qualified veterinarian or licensed professional. Some horse owners, particularly breeders, outside the racing industry will freeze brand their horses in addition to micro chipping to promote their brand. When freeze branding, your horse has a light sedation while a metal brand is placed in liquid nitrogen to cool. The skin is clipped and prepared and the frozen brand is then held on the skin for approximately 30 seconds. The hairs will turn white after several weeks to months.

Author

  • Dr Louise Cosgrove

    The founder of Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services, Louise is driven to support horses in their recovery from injury or illness. A graduate of the University of Queensland, with international equin...

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