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Sat, Sep
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PETS’ CORNER Why microchipping matters

Living

Ask the Vet
Esther Van Luipen

About ten years ago I had a lovely black Labrador called Jack. He was my best friend and came with me wherever I went. One night, I was living in Carlow at the time, I was locking up the surgery. Jack had been with me in the surgery that whole evening and while I was locking up, he was standing behind me. At least that was where I thought he was. When I turned around he was gone.
I called out his name and searched everywhere around the streets of Carlow town. After about an hour I gave up and fear gripped my heart. I called the guards and reported my missing dog. I went to bed, but didn’t sleep a wink that night. The next few days I drove around Carlow a few times and called around the different pounds. I was desperate. I thought I’d never see him again.
Luckily, a few days later, I got a phone call from another vet who acted also as a dog warden. She told me that she got my number off the guards and told me that when she drove through Carlow town the night before she saw a big black Labrador near the road and just opened the door of her car. The black dog hopped in straight away and sat down beside her in the front seat. (He must have recognized the smell, a mixture of cow dung and surgical spirit, and thought it was my car). She brought the dog to a dog kennel, and the rest you can guess. It was my Jack, and I was over the moon!
In those days, microchips had just been introduced in Ireland but were not commonly available like they are today. I was very lucky to have found back my precious pet.
If my dog had been microchipped that time, I probably would have got him back that same night. The dog warden would have traced my dog back to me with the number of the microchip.

New law
From March 2016, all dogs in Ireland must be microchipped and their details registered on an approved database. Their owners must have a certificate to prove this. Also, since last Tuesday, September 1, every pup must be microchipped before the age of 12 weeks, and it will be illegal to sell, supply, buy or take ownership of a pup that does not have a certificate of microchip registration.
September is National Microchipping Month. During this month we want to highlight the new law and to encourage people to microchip and register their dogs. There are a lot of dogs that are microchipped already, but not registered to their current owner or the address or phone number of the current owner may not be correct.
It is very important that, if your dog is microchipped already, you check if it is also registered correctly. You can do this by filling in a little card that you can get at your local vet. This card can be sent off to an approved database and they can check for you if your dog’s microchip is registered correctly. You can find out more about microchipping if you go to www.fido.ie or www.animark.ie  or www.ncm.ie or ask your local vet. Remember, your pet could be lost without it.

Esther van Luipen is a veterinary surgeon in Claremorris Small Animal Practice. She can be contacted at 094 9373955 or at living@mayonews.ie.