Saturday, 9 February 2013

Microchips - At last a change in the law!

So I'm sure all you noticed a story in the news from a few days ago...! No well let me enlighten you, Micro chipping dogs will become compulsory by April 2016. Yes that means that owning a dog without one after this date could cost you up to £500. Personally I think it should be more but realistically its a great start.

For those who don't know microchips are a clever way of meaning a dog can be traced back to it's owner if lost or stolen. From a professional point of view they're fab, I'd say in an average week we have 4-5 strays bought into us. Those that have microchips are so easy to reunite with their owners. However those that aren't either stay in the veterinary practice for a minimum of 7days until the next step is taken or the dog warden collects straight away. I personally feel this law could go further and include cats but I think that's a long way off as they don't currently share many of the same legal obligations that dog owners have.

In the UK, in an average year 118,932 dogs go missing. Only 55,898 are returned to their owners. Many other face death or re homing.

This minor procedure is so easy, it involves one injection. All be it a slightly bigger needle than your average booster injection, most dogs don't even notice it. I remember during one nurse consult I had a litter of 9 puppies come in for micro chipping, out of the 9 only 2 made a small noise on injection. So don't be put off by people telling you how big the needle is. Routinely it's done at 1st or 2nd injection of your dogs puppy course. I always say if you have the choice have it done at the 2nd injection as by this stage the puppy is slightly bigger and also their first trip to the vets is stressful enough without adding even more to the consult list of jobs. Other people decide to have it done at the time of neutering as under GA your pet won't notice a thing. Although this is still fine, there is that 6mths risk of your young untrained puppy doing a runner. The decision at the minute is up to you, soon it won't be though.

Here you can see how a microchip looks on an x-ray.

After your dog has been chipped you simply fill out and sign some paperwork and that is your job done! The paperwork goes onto a central database with the chip company and then your missing animal can  be located easily. Basically if we get a missing pet in, we scan it with a special scanner (see picture) this then shows us a number unique to your pet. We then call a microchip company, give them the code and they tell us the dogs name, owners name and a contact telephone number.
Please please please update your details regularly with the chip company else this system won't work. Which to be honest is one loophole that may come from this law, but time will tell how it works.

From my point of view this is great news, in regards to dangerous dogs this should in theory also help with prosecution against an owner.

For further Info take a look at the BBC Website:

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