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Why you should microchip your pet

21/07/17

microchipIt’s a tiny chip, as small as a grain of rice, inserted into the back of your pet’s neck - but it might just be the difference between being reunited with your beloved pet or losing them forever.

Microchipping is a simple, lifelong way to identify animals and link them to their owners, resulting in the speedier return of lost, stolen or injured animals. In fact, over 80 per cent of animals that are microchipped are successfully reunited with their owners. If your animal is lost and taken into a vet clinic or SPCA, it can be reunited with you within hours of it being found.

In New Zealand, microchipping is required for all dogs registered for the first time, with the exception of working farm dogs. However, SPCA National Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says the organisation strongly recommends microchipping of all pets.

“All dogs, cats and rabbits at SPCA centres are microchipped before adoption. Unlike collars and tags, which can fall off, microchipping is a more permanent method of identifying your beloved animals if something happens.”

“Wellington City Council has recently become the first to make micro-chipping compulsory for all cats - a move which we wholeheartedly support and hope other councils around New Zealand will replicate.”

Over half a million animals are now registered nationwide on the Companion Animal Register.

The benefit of microchipping pets was illustrated in Canterbury recently, when the SPCA managed to reunite a beloved cat with its owner after more than three years apart. When Max disappeared in October 2013, his owner Kelly Osborn gave up hope of ever finding him again. Max had followed her flatmate down the driveway as she put wheelie bins at the kerb for collection, and never came back.

Kelly delivered flyers and desperately appealed for sightings of her beloved Max on social media. She gave up hope of ever seeing her black and white cat again.  Three years later, he was handed into the SPCA and his microchip immediately identified Kelly as the owner. Just a few hours later, she had her beloved cat back.  Kelly said without Max's microchip, she would have never been reunited with him.

SImilarly, in Marlborough Jimmy ‘the Ginga’ cat was reunited with his owner after two and a half years when he was found 20km from his home and identified by his micro-chip. Within a day of arriving at Marlborough SPCA, Jimmy was on a plane to Auckland and into the hands of his owner, who had since relocated to Auckland.

SPCA Canterbury and Marlborough Chief Executive Barry Helem said the team were thrilled to be able reunite the cats after such a long period.

"It really does illustrate the value of microchipping your animals. Without this, we may not have been able to find these owners and have such a happy ending."

MICROCHIPPING FACTS:

●    Microchipping does not hurt nor harm your pet’s health
●    The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice
●    The microchip lasts the lifetime of your pet
●    Each chip has a number and when an animal is microchipped, the owner’s details are recorded against that number onto the New Zealand Companion Animal Register database
●    Vet clinics and SPCAs have access to the New Zealand Companion Animal Register
●    Microchipping can be used as legal identification if an animal’s ownership is in dispute
●    Microchipping can help with legal identification in case your animal is stolen
●    Animal microchips do not include GPS
●    Currently vets are charging around $45 to $80 for microchipping. This is often cheaper if your pet is already in the clinic for another procedure, such as desexing
●    The microchip is administered via a syringe and needle, which is not extraordinarily large.
●    For most dogs and cats, it only stings as much as any injection or vaccination does. Many vets will apply some local anesthetic cream first, and the procedure only takes a few seconds