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Horse Identification
Horse Indentfication by eyeD

From eyeD™ Iris Scan Technology for Horses
Permanent identification for horses has always been an important element in theft prevention. However, once a horse is stolen or reported missing, the traditional methods of ID fall short as a means of getting the horse back.

While it is difficult to determine exact numbers, it is estimated that as many as 50,000 horses are stolen every year. For a horse owner who loses an animal in this way, recovery is often a futile and frustrating experience ending in disappointment. Part of the reason for failure-to-find is that traditional equine ID methods are not reliable tools for positive identification and reclamation.

Standard ID methods, such as brands and tattoos, can fade or be altered, complicating identification. With the introduction of advanced technology, unreliable identification methods are no longer an issue. Global Animal Management (a subsidiary of Merck Animal Health) has developed a 21st century approach to equine identification with eyeD™ iris scan technology.

According to David Knupp, marketing manager, Global Animal Management, eyeD was more than 10 years in development. “This highly advanced method of identification will provide horse owners with quick and precise identification in addition to data that can be retrieved instantly.”

eyeD is an invaluable tool in horse recovery because an eyeD horse is part of a national equine database. This aids greatly in horse capture whether the animal is simply lost or stolen. If the missing horse undergoes an eyeD scan, an alert will be sent to the Global Animal Management team. The team will inform the horse’s rightful owner of where the scan happened, who the camera is registered to and when the scan occurred. It is up to the horse’s rightful owner to take action.

eyeD takes equine identification to new levels of accuracy, security and simplicity. In addition, unlike brands and tattoos, eyeD is completely noninvasive, offering owners peace of mind about their horses’ comfort.

“Providing no more undue stress to animals, eyeD takes only minutes to capture a digital photo of the horse’s eyes, and all without restraining the horse during the process,” Knupp said. “Horse owners can ensure lower stress levels and increased safety of their horses by using eyeD.”

Veterinarians, in addition to horse owners, are embracing eyeD. Robert Magnus, D.V.M, Wisconsin Equine Clinic, said, “It’s (eyeD) good for the horse, it’s good for the client and it has the opportunity to improve standards for veterinarians.”

Accuracy and permanence are key to eyeD efficacy. No two irises are alike, even twins and clones have different iris patterns, making eyeD technology the most accurate of all equine ID methods. In fact, an iris scan is 99.9 percent accurate – more accurate than a human fingerprint.  In addition, an eyeD iris scan is indelible. It won’t fade or wear away with time.

Andrew Clark, D.V.M., MBA, commented on eyeD, “This is finally an accurate, repeatable system that is actually more accurate than a human fingerprint, so that we’ll know with certainty this is the horse we should be dealing with.”

eyeD is made up of four components: eyeD camera, eyeSync™ client software, eyePrint™ and eyeD processor. The first component required is the camera. A veterinarian captures images of both eyes at a distance of 10 to 14 inches from the horse. The scanning process takes just a few seconds.

The iris scan is automatically converted into an eyePrint.™ The eyePrint is automatically sent to the eyeD processor where it is assigned a unique 15-digit alpha-numeric code. Enrollment is now complete. When identification verification is required later on, matching the original scan with a new one is just as simple and quick as when the initial image was captured.

Veterinarians are the only professionals trained and authorized to take eyeD enrollments. Being able to offer eyeD to clients is a benefit to practices looking for ways to enhance their portfolio of services. Monty McInturff, D.V.M., Tennessee Equine Hospital, offers eyeD. He said, “Having a noninvasive way of identifying my equine patients is exciting. The information stored in the eyeD database is tamperproof, permanent and safe from damage unlike paper documents. I look forward to utilizing this technology to better serve my customers.”

Besides aiding with horse recovery, eyeD offers many other benefits. “Once a horse is enrolled, the eyeD identification can be attached to other pieces of information such as health certificates, health records, Coggins tests and interstate movement certificates,” Knupp said. “While it currently serves as a resource for horse recovery, these additional benefits and features will be available in the coming months.”

eyeD holds great promise for horse owners who are involved in equine competitions.  With traditional ID methodologies, entering and leaving shows and competitions can be a slow and tedious process. With eyeD, a horse’s identification can be verified within seconds, greatly reducing the amount of time required for check-in.

Transferring horse ownership is another function that is vastly simplified with eyeD. The seller of the eyeD-enrolled horse simply goes to the eyeD portal and enters the new owner’s information. The remainder of the annual fee is also transferred to the new owner.

Through, eyeD serves as a record keeping system – a repository for valuable documents such as pedigree papers, medical records and performance history. And because it is linked to a veterinarian’s computer software, a horse owner has immediate access to health records and other information. If proof of a negative Coggins test is required, an owner of an eyeD enrolled horse can obtain online results 24/7 via

eyeD is now available to breed associations, commercial stables, horse owners and equine practitioners . For more information and to enroll in eyeD, contact your local veterinarian or log on to

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About eyeD™-

eyeD iris scan technology is a product of Global Animal Management, a subsidiary of Merck Animal Health.
Merck Animal Health is a global healthcare leader offering veterinarians, producers (livestock and growers), pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets.