From April 6, 2016, your dog must be microchipped by law in the UK, and this has been the case for horses since July 2009.
This involves implanting a small microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the skin, usually at the back of the neck in cats and dogs, or into the ligament on the side of a horse’s neck.
The chip has a unique serial code, which is registered on a national database with the owners’ contact information. The microchip cannot usually be felt or seen, and is a tamper-proof and permanent way of identifying a pet.
Often we will implant at the time of initial vaccinations, when issuing a passport, or when pets are neutered, but chips can be implanted at any time and it is considered a very safe procedure.
There are a multitude of benefits to microchipping. It means that should a lost pet be handed in to vets, police, a dog warden or charities, we can enable prompt reunion with their owner. Without a microchip, we have no way of knowing who the pet belongs to. If a pet has not been claimed within a week or two it will often be re-homed.
In addition, if a pet was stolen, a microchip is one way of identifying it should it be sold on or presented to a vet or authorities elsewhere.
A microchip also means that if an injured pet is taken to a vet, we can contact the owner for legal permission to treat it promptly. If an injured animal is brought in without its owner we are limited to administering first aid or preventing further suffering. Heroics without an owner’s permission are not really possible. With the likes of cats, it can be more than 24 hours before owners are alerted to their absence, by which time a lot of critical decisions may have been made.
In the sad instances of a pet being found dead, a microchip enables us to inform its owners.
Remember even if your pet is microchipped to update your contact details regularly. Almost more frustrating than having a pet brought in without a microchip is finding that the owner’s contact details are no longer valid. Easy-to-follow instructions for updating microchips can be found at www.petlog.org.uk
At Robson and Prescott we also regularly microchip exotic pets such as tortoises, snakes, parrots, and more. If you would like more information on microchipping or would like to arrange an appointment contact us.
By Sarah Haggie, Vet