Hi everyone, hope this latest blog finds you all hale and hearty? Isn’t it great to finally officially in summer? June is National Microchip Month, as you may or may not be aware, so I thought I would share some thoughts and facts with you all.

Since April 6th 2016, it has been the law in the UK that all dogs over the age of 8weeks must be microchipped, but recent surveys show that some of us are still not doing it. Dog breeders are responsible for chipping any puppies that they’ve bred, and should be recorded as the pups’ first keeper.

The microchip causes minimal pain on insertion; it’s just a bit bigger than a vaccination injection to them. The chip itself is only about the size of an uncooked rice grain, and we implant it between their shoulder blades. The description “small but mighty” is definitely applicable here; sometimes it is the sole factor responsible for reuniting missing pets with their owners!

When scanned, the chip displays the unique identification number registered to your pet on the scanner screen. This information is held on a national database, which can be matched to your contact details. These details must be kept up-to-date and stored with an approved database company, of which there are several: Anibase, Pet Identity, PetLog, pet Protect, Pettrac, and Smarttrac to name a few.

If ever you move house, please remember to register your change of address with the relevant company for your pets’ chip; there is usually an administrative charge for this, but it’s well worth the peace of mind in my opinion. The other thing to note is that if your dog is scanned and found to not be microchipped, you have 21 days to rectify the situation and have them chipped; failure to do so results in a hefty £500 fine – ouch!

Only Veterinarians and qualified persons may insert the microchip, it isn’t something you could do yourself at home for example. If you have a new pup that the breeder hasn’t microchipped, please bring them in to us and we’ll do it for you (and have a sneaky cuddle with your pet at the same time :-).

A lot of owners don’t realise that their dog still needs to wear a collar and tag that displays their contact details on when out and about in public. I think of this as another layer of security for your pets’ safety, and one which we at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre have used to simply ring the telephone number on the disc and reunite the wandering animal with its worried keeper.

Currently, there is no law that states cats, rabbits and other small pets must be microchipped. As a cat owner myself though, I would strongly recommend that you do get your feline friend chipped; they do like to wander and their curious nature can mean they may be far from home if they get accidentally transported in a motorised vehicle!

More than 4 million cats (approximately 40%) are not microchipped, according to vets’ charity PDSA; and of these unchipped moggies, less than half get reunited with their owners. As I’ve already said – just to drive the point home – microchipping allows pet and owner to be quickly reunited if they do go missing. In Spain and Belgium it is already a legal requirement for cat owners to have

their kitty microchipped, and there is an increasing amount of people wanting to follow suit in this country.

Just as with dogs, we place the microchip between the shoulder blades in cats and also in ferrets, and it’s a quick, straight forward procedure. Rabbits can also be microchipped, and a lot of breeders of show quality rabbits opt to have this done to their animals; they can be valuable, and therefore attractive to thieves, unfortunately.

It isn’t really practical for rabbits to wear collars, which is why a lot of domestic “pleasure” owners opt to have their rabbit chipped. Bunnies can be somewhat “Houdini”-esque and dig under fences or ground runs on lawns, or squeeze between surprisingly small gaps in garden borders, so being microchipped makes it a lot easier for them to be reunited with their owners.

Very often, we microchip rabbits here at SLVC at the same time they’re under general anaesthetic for being neutered; it’s less stressful and risky for bunny, and kills two birds with one stone as the saying goes 🙂

Just in case you wondered, birds can be microchipped too; it’s normally parrots that we come across at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre for this purpose. The chip is normally inserted into breast muscle tissue on the left hand side of the bird. This is because birds don’t have a subcutaneous zone to put the chip into, unlike cats and dogs, and also because sharp beaks can’t interfere with it in this position! If you have a bird that you would like microchipping, then please don’t hesitate to contact one of the reception team members at our Allestree or Osmaston practices.

Whilst we’re slightly off the beaten track, Tortoises and Snakes can also be microchipped! The microchip would be inserted in the left hind leg of the Tortoise, and in the left hand side of the neck in snakes 🙂

Well that’s all for now, until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy – and get your fur-baby microchipped if it isn’t already done! 🙂