Equine Passports & Microchips

By law, all horse, ponies and donkeys in the UK must have a passport. Vaccination, veterinary or breed certificates are not deemed sufficient. The passport must accompany the horse whenever it travels, and by law veterinary surgeons cannot treat a horse without first seeing its passport. The passport documents the horse’s identity, health checks and vaccination records and should also contain a Section IX Medical Treatment Section.

We recommend you sign this section declaring that the horse described in it is not intended for human consumption. Once this section is signed there are no restrictions on the medicines that can be administered to your horse beyond the normal drug prescribing cascade.


If section IX is not signed or the passport is not available or if the identification in the passport doesn’t match the horse’s markings then there are severe restrictions on what medication can be administered to your horse. Once section IX is signed, whether in the passport or on the form issued by the veterinary surgeon, it is an irreversible decision. If a passport is issued to an adult horse, then the Passport Issuing Organisation will sign section IX. Particularly, bute cannot be given without section IX being signed “not intended for human consumption”. Passport regulations now require that all horses must be microchipped in order to obtain a passport, whether new or replacement. All foals must be microchipped by 31st December of the year of their birth or within 6 months of birth (whichever is later). The passport is issued to the horse and therefore must accompany it when ownership is transferred and should be returned within 30 days to the relevant passport issuing authority upon the horse’s demise. It is illegal to sell a horse without a valid passport and the buyer should register their new ownership within 30 days of purchase. If you are unsure whether your horse has been microchipped any of our vets can attend to scan for a microchip and insert one if none is found. Please visit DEFRA for further information including a full list of Passport Issuing Authority’s (PIO’s) regarding obtaining a passport.