Everything You Need to Know about Microchipping

As pet lovers ourselves, we here at Floreat Veterinary Centre know what a tragedy it would be for a pet to go missing. Most owners won’t have to suffer losing their furry loved one, but sadly, many still do. We’re having a look at the importance of microchipping your beloved animal.

The Lost Pet Epidemic

In 2014, over 200,000 pets ended up in shelters across Australia. According to the RSPCA, only 22% of the dogs and cats that they received during this time were returned successfully to their owners. Sadly, each year more than half of lost pets across Australia are euthanized. This is an unfortunate necessity given the sheer numbers of lost pets and the limited resources available to shelter them – despite the great work many charitable shelters do.

If you lost your pet, you’d want to have the best chance of having it returned safely to your home. It is for this reason that getting your dog or cat microchipped is so important. Stray dogs and cats can also pose a social problem and it is for this reason that most State Governments have made microchipping mandatory. As of November 2015, all dogs in Western Australia must be microchipped, and steps are being taken to see full microchipping of cats soon. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also necessary for full compliance with the law.

What are Microchips and How Do They Work?

Microchips are a method of electronic identification. A tiny chip is inserted under the skin and between the shoulder blades of your pet. Each microchip is assigned a unique number that is able to be detected through the use of a specific scanner. The chip is matched with the owner’s contact details so that they can be alerted when the pet has been found. Vets, animal shelters and local councils have the technology to scan these chips.

Are There Any Downsides?

The insertion of a microchip causes minimal pain to your pet. Microchips are inserted with a needle, and it is thus comparable to receiving an injection. It only takes a few seconds to perform the procedure. Your pet might give out a little yelp, particularly if they’re being chipped when young, but that’s about it. In terms of animal welfare, your pet being returned is well worth any minor discomfort.

There are relatively few side effects to having your pet microchipped. There may be minor bleeding or infection in some cases or hair loss in the area where the chip is inserted. There are minimal cases internationally of pets getting cancer where the microchip was inserted, but there is no substantial evidence that chips are the cause of this cancer.

Microchip migration may occur (where the chip moves once it is inserted). However, if you are concerned, a vet will be able to ensure that the chip is in the correct location. Although extremely rare, microchips can stop working. To be safe, you can always check with an animal welfare agency or your vet to ensure that the microchip is in working order.

What Else Do I Need To Do?

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Always ensure that your contact details stay updated on the animal registry. If a pet changes ownership, make sure that the details are updated swiftly. Don’t simply only rely on a microchip; make sure your pet also has a tag with identification to ensure the best chance of finding your furry loved one!

The team at Floreat Veterinary Centre are experienced and compassionate professionals. If you know or suspect your pet has not been microchipped, contact us today to ensure peace of mind! You can call us on 08 9383 7773