Microchipping FAQs

  1. What is a microchip? The microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it and is encapsulated within a biocompatible material. The whole device is small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle and can be simply injected under the skin of your pet, where it will stay for the life of the animal. This provides a permanent identification which cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed and therefore is a safe, simple and inexpensive way to protect your pet against loss or theft.
  2. How does a microchip work? The computer memory in the microchip contains a 15-digit worldwide unique microchip number. The microchip according to ISO 11784 does not contain any other information. A radio signal transmitted from a scanner is used to read this number through the skin of your pet. In addition to the number, the microchip generates a reliability check to guarantee that your pet's identifying number is read accurately. This all takes place in less than 40 milliseconds. After the scan, the vet consults a database to find a matching number, and thereby obtains the owner's contact details. Most countries have at least one database, and many of these form part of international networks like Europetnet.com.
  3. How long does the microchip last? Once injected under the skin of your pet, the microchip becomes encased by a thin layer of protein which anchors it in place for the rest of the life of your pet. It does not pass through or out of the body. The microchip itself has no power supply to replace or moving parts to wear down. Therefore, it can be expected to last well beyond the lifespan of most pets.
  4. What is the youngest age a pet can be microchipped at? Animals of any age can be injected with a microchip. You should consult your local vet and ask their advice but many puppies and kittens are chipped during their initial vaccine series.
  5. Why should I microchip my pet? It only takes one time for your pet to get out. Also pet theft is also a daily occurrence as animals such as purebreds, birds and exotics are valuable and are often stolen for resale.
  6. Does microchipping hurt? The injection creates only a slight discomfort which most pets don't mind. The microchip is encapsulated in a specially formulated biocompatible material created specifically for this kind of application.
  7. Can my pet be allergic to the microchip? The microchip is inert and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergic reaction.
  8. Where is the microchip implanted? For most animals (dogs, cats) the chip is implanted in the scruff of the neck (the loose skin between the animal's shoulder blades) and in birds, the microchip is implanted under a wing.
  9. Can the microchip be easily removed? No, it would require a veterinarian to surgically remove the microchip once implanted.
  10. Are there different types of microchips? Yes. The types are called ISO and non-ISO microchips. A microchip according to ISO needs to conform to ISO 11784 standard and tested according to ISO 24631-1 standard. Existing laws for official identification please refer to ISO 11784.
  11. Where can I get my pet microchipped? You will need to contact your local vet about getting your pet microchipped.
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