Pet Microchipping Advice

A microchip is a small device, a little bigger than a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin using a special type of needle. The chip contains a unique number which can then be cross referenced with the owners details when the animal is registered. The chip is “read” by means of a small portable hand-held scanner which is run over the animal. This quickly picks up the unique number so that the owners details can then be obtained and contacted. The process of inserting the chip is relatively simple and doesn’t require an anesthetic, it is just like a normal injection, only taking seconds to perform.

Further Advice

Common Questions

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small device, a little bigger than a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin using a special type of needle. The chip only contains a unique number which can then be cross referenced with the owners details when the chip is inserted and the animal is registered. The chip is “read” by means of a small portable hand-held scanner which is run over the animal. This quickly picks up the unique number and this means that the owners details can then be obtained and contacted.

What animals can be identified?

Any animal can be micro-chipped from a mouse upwards. However cats, dogs, horses and valuable birds are the most common.

Why should I have my pet identified?

The microchip is a permanent and tamper proof method of identifying your pet. The most common use for the microchip is if an animal is found without an owner present. The microchip can be read in a matter of seconds and then the owners details retrieved off the central database.

The most common reason for having to utilise the benefits of the microchips is with stray/injured animals. Collars are not tolerated well by cats and can easily be lost, however, the microchip DOES NOT replace the disk on the collar and this can still be a useful addition to help return the pet to the owner easily should he/she be found.

Are there any risks involved?

If the correct chips are used and they are implanted by qualified personnel, there is no risk. They remain in situ and they do not cause any reaction. Animals tolerate the chip very well.

Where are the microchips inserted?

The standard place for dogs and cats in just under the skin on the middle of the back, in between the shoulder blades. This is universally accepted position that the chips have to be placed as this makes scanning lost animals a lot easier and quicker as the person will know where to look for a chip.

So who has a reader?

Most local vets, dog wardens, animal charities, police forces and animal rescue centres have a microchip reader. So if your animal is lost, stolen or injured in an accident, whoever the pet is taken to, they should be able to identify them and inform you of the situation. Although different companies manufacture microchips, the readers are generally universal and will read all types of chip, this means you do not have to rely on someone having a specific reader for a specific microchip.

As a Veterinary practice, we are often placed in a difficult situation when stray animals injured in road accidents are brought in to us. We always give such animals emergency care and do our best for them, but at the same time we do not want to create an enormous bill for an owner who may not be able to afford extensive treatment. If such animals were identified, we could seek authority for treatment before it was commenced.