Sunday, 17 February 2008

'M'is for Microchipping

Hello again,

Today's post is about having your dog microchipped.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It has a unique number coded into it. This can be read with a specialised scanning device.

The chip is pre-loaded into a special hypodermic needle. This has an attachment which is inserted into a microchip 'gun'. The gun is a hand held trigger which drives the chip out of the needle.

Each chip and needle is made and sealed in its own packet within a sterile environment.

They are for one-off use and the used needles are disposed of in a sharps box.

What is the procedure?

The chip (or implant as it also known) is injected just under the skin. The favoured location in the UK is between the shoulder blades. This prevents it in moving out of that area. It also stops your dog from scratching or biting that area.

Some countries I think still implant the chip at the top of the leg.
Unfortunately they can travel before fixing in place. I have found one just above the paw and another under the chin!

Firstly the chip assembly is scanned to make sure that it is functioning.

Your dog's skin is then cleaned with surgical spirit and then the chip is implanted.
There can be a small amount of blood. Pressure is applied to stop blood flow.

Your dog is scanned to make sure that the chip is actually in place.

It is very important that you do not rub the area for 24 hours. This allows the chip to fix in place. Otherwise it may come out.

All your dog feels is a short sharp prick in its skin, exactly the same as when thre vet gives a vaccination.
Have a nice treat ready as a reward!

Then the paperwork is done. This has your contact details as owner and description of your dog, such as sex, age, breed , colour, distingushing marks, and name.

If you move or change phone numbers it is vital to inform the registration company A.S.A.P.

Any vet or qualified microchipper can implant a chip into your dog.

Many rescue centres have qualified staff who will carry out the procedure.

Why have it done?

- If you apply for a pet passport having your dog microchipped is compulsory.

- It uniquely identifies your dog as being yours.

- If your dog becomes lost it can be scanned and re-united with you. Vets, animal rescues, dog wardens all have scanners.

- It can protect against theft or disputes over ownership. You will be given a special tag to attach to your dog's collar. Once closed it cannot be undone. It is also a good idea to have something like 'Please Scan my Chip' engraved on your dog's identity disc.

One last point. The microchips are passive. That is they have nothing keeping them active.
When your dog is scanned the chip becomes active. It is a good idea to ask your vet to scan your dog when you take it in for its annual health check. Or at any other time!

Bye for now, Ti

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