Implantation Guide: Mammals

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Dogs and cats

Implant the microchip subcutaneously in the dorsal midline just cranial to the scapulae. This is the standard site for the UK and most of the world, but in the rest of Europe it is usually the midway region of the left hand side of the neck.

Horses and other equidae

Implant the chip on the near side of the animal, in the middle third of the neck, 3-4cm below the crest. Clip and prepare the site aseptically, as for any surgical procedure. Insert the needle to its full depth into the nuchal ligament, at an angle of 90° to the neck. Apply digital pressure to the implant site as you remove the needle. It is not usually necessary to use sedation or local anaesthesia, however this may need to be considered, depending on the age and temperament of the individual animal.


Implant the chip on the left side of the neck, a hand’s breadth below the ear. Insert needle at a 45° angle to the skin to place the chip into the cervical muscle or the nuchal ligament. Use full needle depth in an adult llama, but less depth with alpacas and crias. (Avoid inserting the chip into the area of the cervical vertebrae of the spinal column).

Agricultural animals - such as cows, sheep, pigs, goats

For animals used for meat production, the implant site is subcutaneously at the base of the left ear over the scutiform cartilage. It is strongly recommended that any implanted food-producing animal should carry an external means of indicating that it has been implanted with a microchip: this ensures the chip can be recognised and recovered at slaughter. In some cases, microchipping might not be permitted - if in doubt, contact the relevant local government department.

Large mammals

Implant the chip subcutaneously in the left mid-neck region.

Medium and small mammals

Implant the chip between the scapulae.


An alternative site for primates is the back of the hand (metacarpal) or foot (metatarsal). This is suitable if the animal can be trained to present hands or feet through cage bars.


Implant the chip behind the left ear or wherever appropriate for the individual animal.