In the first few years after I qualified as a veterinary
surgeon, I was probably asked to microchip only a handful
of pets. In recent years, however, microchipping is becoming
The procedure is simple - a small chip is injected into
the scruff of the neck. No sedation or anaesthetic is required.
If the pet is scanned, the chip shows up as a number that
is unique to that animal. A central computer database keeps
a log of the owner's details, so they can be contacted if
that pet is found. Unlike a collar and tag, the microchip
cannot be lost or removed.
We most frequently microchip dogs - especially so since
the advent of the "Pet Passport" system, where
any animal requiring a passport must be chipped first of
all. However, my personal opinion is that the species where
chipping is probably most useful is the cat. They are more
prone to wandering off, or getting into accidents. If a
cat is brought into the surgery, stray or injured, and its
owner is unknown, we (and the RSPCA) will ALWAYS check for
The value of this was brought home to me recently when
we scanned a lost cat and - after finding a microchip -
were able to reunite her with her owner, who turned out
to be an employee of another local vet practice! The cat
had been missing for 2 weeks!
"Galore" (James Bond eat your heart out!) is
owned by Mr. Young of Clarendon Road, Hinckley. He decided
it wise to get her chipped because his work required him
to move house frequently, and cats have a habit of making
their way back to old houses! So far, Galore (aged 7) is
on her fourth house. Each time they have moved, Galore's
address details are altered accordingly on the chip database.
Mr. Young himself is on his 17th house in the last 15 years!
People often comment that it would be useful if the chips
could also have a tracking device in them (I'm sure 007
would aprove of that!). If that ever comes about, Galore
may even consider having her owner microchipped - with the
frequency of his house moves it would help HER to keep tabs
Young BVSc CertSAM MRCVS.
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