Microchips seem to be in everything now. They are found in computers of course; TVs, sky boxes and DVD players obviously contain them. I’d guess it’s likely that even things like microwaves do now; but animals? Why would an animal need a microchip?

So your pet can find their way home safely.

The microchip, which can be easily implanted, has a unique number stored in it. This is registered on a central database, which allows anyone phoning with the code number; police, dog wardens, rescue centres or vets to contact the owner. Consequently lost pets and their owners can be reunited quickly and easily.

SONY DSCChips can be injected in most animals when they are awake – it’s just a slightly bigger needle than we would normally use. Like any injection, it stings for a second, but soon forget about it, especially if there’s a tasty treat on offer. We do chip some animals under anaesthetic; if the animal is coming in for another procedure, we offer chipping under the anaesthetic so they don’t feel a thing.

SONY DSCThe microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and has a special coating to stop the body reacting to it. The chip is injected into the animal and sits under the skin or in the muscle (the site varies from animal to animal, but in dogs or cats they are injected into the back of the neck). Chips are read by a special scanner which is passed over the skin and beeps when it finds the chip, displaying a code number. If anyone thinks this sounds rather like being at the till at a supermarket, then you are right. We move the scanner over the animal though, rather than trying to swipe the dog over a stationary scanner.

SONY DSCIt is these chips which are used to prove the identity of animals travelling in and out of the UK on pet passports

In the picture you can see Idris, who belongs to one of our nurses, having his chipped checked.

Even if your animal has a collar and name tag, these can be removed or pull off. Cat collars should always have a quick release catch, in case they get caught in something. Even with those I don’t like collars on cats, because they can get caught under the front legs and rub, causing nasty wounds, so I would always favour micrcochips over collars. The advantage of a chip is that it cannot be removed, or fall off; because it’s in the animal, it’s always there to be found.

June is National Microchip month. It’s organised jointly by the Kennel Club and the database which holds your pet’s information. To do our bit, we have a special offer on microchips during the month of June. If you are a registered client as the practice, we can arrange an appointment, just telephone us to do so. There may be special events organised by other organisations as well.

If your pet is microchipped, then please make sure you change the details if you move house. We see several animals a year where the owners have gone to the trouble of having them chipped, but have not changed the details, so these poor animals remain lost. In some cases, the animal has been rehomed several times, but the chip shows the details of the original owner. Some of these lost animals are never reunited with their owners.

So if you care about your animal, consider getting them microchipped, so if there is an accident, or they get lost, you will get them back.

Just don’t take them to the supermarket to check the chip. We’ll be happy to do that for you.