PAINLESS?Microchipping is a painless procedure, and a surer way of finding your pet than a collar tag, which can easily come off.
Chip it, check it
Ask the vet
Esther Van Luipen
September is National Chipping Month. This month we vets will not only be putting an emphasis on getting more animals micro-chipped, we would like to check the microchips of already-chipped animals to see if the animal’s and owner’s details are correctly registered or if the animal is registered at all.
A microchip is a chip made of inert material, which means that it won’t cause inflammation or disease and is therefore totally safe. It is the size of a rice grain (some vets even have mini-microchips that are even smaller, for smaller pets). The chip is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. It is so small and so light that it doesn’t cause any discomfort.
So how does a microchip work? Some people ask me if it works like a GPS system, so if you lose your pet somebody will be able to trace it with a computer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. A microchip contains only a number. When this number is keyed into a database you can find the name and address of the owner of the animal. When somebody finds a lost or stray animal it should be taken to a vet or a rescue shelter where they have a microchip reader. The microchip number will be read and checked in a database and the animal can then be reunited with the owner.
There is only one problem. Some pet owners’ details are registered incorrectly, while others are not registered at all. That is why vets along with animal shelters and the dogs trust are making people aware of this and are trying to encourage dog owners to ‘chip it and check it’ – to microchip their dogs, but also to register their pets properly.
What can a pet owner do to find out if their details are registered correctly? One way to check it is to go the website www.ncm.ie. Here you can enter the microchip number of your pet (if you know it) and the details that are registered for your pet will show up.
If you don’t know if your pet is chipped or what the microchip number is you can present your pet to your local vet or animal shelter and ask them to read the microchip for you. Some vets will also have forms for owners to fill in and to send off to check the registration of their animal.
There is no time like the present time to get your pet chipped and checked: The Government is introducing legislation that will make dog microchipping compulsory, so now is a good time to act.
Many veterinary practices are offering free or subsidised microchipping for the month of September. To find participating practices, visit www.ncm.ie.