Microchipping Dogs – what are the changes? - Veterinary Practice
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Microchipping Dogs – what are the changes?

All dogs undergoing export, import or EU travel have to be individually identified and the most common method for this is the microchip.

What’s it All About?

All dogs undergoing export, import or EU travel have to be individually identified and the most common method for this is the microchip. Microchipping has become more widely adopted over the last few years and is seen as an important part of responsible pet ownership and not just a requirement for those travelling abroad.

From April 6th 2016 the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 will come into force and compulsory microchipping of all dogs in England will be necessary. Scotland and Wales are working towards implementing their own legislation soon too.

Why Microchip?

Microchipping has many benefits including

  • Helping to reunite strays with their owners
  • Helping to tackle puppy farming
  • Encouraging responsible ownership

The forthcoming legislation also represents an excellent opportunity for veterinary practices to educate and interact with their clients.

Do All Dogs Need to be Microchipped?

Yes, all dogs over 8 weeks old must be microchipped. Where a veterinary surgeon has certified the dog as a working dog and docked its tail in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the time limit for the dog to be microchipped and the details recorded on the database is extended to 12 weeks.

There is no minimum age for microchipping although most puppies will be microchipped between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Enough time must be given after implantation for the details to be sent and recorded on the database within the proscribed time.

Are There Any Exemptions?

Veterinary surgeons can certify on a form approved by the Secretary for State that a dog should not be microchipped for reasons of the animal’s health. Although some clients are concerned about microchipping young and small dog breeds, there are suppliers that offer mini microchips suitable for these situations.

Are There Any Additional Requirements?

Vets must report adverse reactions which include any of the following:

  • Intermittently working or failed microchips
  • Migrated microchips, though the exact distance of migration has not been defined
  • Microchips that have caused an adverse reaction (eg haematoma, infection or inflammatory response)

These should be reported through the online VMD microchip adverse event reporting form.

What Must Keepers Do?

  • Have their dog microchipped and registered on one of the seven authorised commercial databases. Failure to do this can lead to a fine of £500.
  • Keep their contact details up-to-date on the databases.
  • Where a dog is transferred to a new keeper, the new keeper must, unless the previous keeper has already done so, record their details and any change in the dog’s name with the database on which the dog’s details are recorded. Dogs cannot be transferred between keepers unless they are microchipped. The breeder must be the first registered keeper of a puppy.

What Details Are Recorded on the Database?

  • Full name and address of keeper/breeder and contact number
  • Name, sex, breed, colour and most accurate estimate of the dog’s date of birth
  • Microchip number

Who Can Implant Microchips?

  • Veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses acting under the direction of a Veterinary surgeon
  • Student veterinary surgeons or student veterinary nurses, acting under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon
  • Those who have been satisfactorily assessed on a training course approved by the Secretary of State eg Lantra
  • Those who before the day on which these Regulations come into force, have received training on implantation which includes practical experience of implanting a microchip

Anything Else I Should Know?

  • Veterinary practices should choose the best microchips and database to optimise the chance of a pet being reunited if lost. Microchips must be ISO compliant.
  • Dogs must still wear a collar or tag engraved with the keeper’s name, address and postcode when in a public place.

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