Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Microchip implantation

Synonym(s): Chipping; Microchipping

Contributor(s): Carol Jones


  • Microchipping involves the implantation of a tiny microchip under the animal's skin. Using special scanning equipment, the microchip's unique serial number can be read. Serial numbers are recorded on a central computer database, together with the name and address of the animal's owner.
  • Scanning equipment is used routinely by rescue kennels, dog wardens, and by cruelty and welfare organizations.
  • Should a microchipped animal become lost or stolen, there is a good chance that the animal will be scanned and the true owner identified from the central database.
  • Any animal travelling to and from the UK as part of the DEFRA Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) must have an implanted microchip prior to rabies vaccination.
  • Legislation requiring microchipping of all dogs in Wales will be enforced from 1st March 2015; in England and Scotland from 6th April 2016 and is already enforced in Northern Ireland.
  • In the UK, over 95% of microchipped companion animals are fitted with an Identichip from Animalcare. The data in this technique relate to this company and their products, which conform to FECAVA standards.
  • In the US, AVID and Home Again are major players in this market.
    Print off the owner factsheet on Permanent identification in your dog Permanent identification in your dog to give to your client.


  • Animal identification.
  • Temperature taking (Bio-Thermo" chips).
  • Access to housing and food (pet flaps and feeding stations using RFID technology).


  • Permanent technique.
  • Registration details can be changed if owner details change.


  • Possible migration of microchip; unlikely to be harmful but microchip may fail to be located.
  • Not all scanners read all brands of microchips (common in the United States where non-ISO standard microchips are more widespread).
  • Temperature measurement on Bio-thermo" chips are not 100% reliable with suspected hypo/hyperthermia or pyrexia.
  • May create imaging artifact on magnetic imaging (MRI) of cervical spine.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hicks D G, Bagley R S (2008) Imaging diagnosis - spinal injury following aberrant microchip placement. Vet Radiol Ultra 49 (2), 152-153 PubMed.
  • Greer R J, Cohn L A, Dodam J R et al (2007) Comparison of three methods of temperature measurement in hypothermic, euthermic, and hyperthermic dogs. JAVMA 230 (12), 1841-1848 PubMed.
  • Platt S, Wieczorek L, Dennis R et al (2007) Spinal cord injury resulting from incorrect microchip placement in a cat. J Feline Med Surg (2), 157-160 PubMed.
  • Vascellari M, Melchiotti E & Mutinelli F (2006) Fibrosarcoma with typical features of postinjection sarcoma at site of mircochip implant in a dog: histologic and immunohistochemical study. Vet Pathol 43 (4), 545-548 PubMed.
  • Jansen J A, van der Waerden J P, Gwalter R H et al (1999) Biological and migrational characteristics of transponders implanted into beagle dogs. Vet Rec 145 (12), 329-333 PubMed.
  • Butcher R (1997) The new ISO standard. Which microchip should I use? JSAP 38 (8), 369-370 PubMed.
  • Ingwersen W (1996) Everything you ever wanted to know about microchips. Can Vet J 37 (11), 667-671 PubMed.
  • Burk R L, Eich D W (1995) Migrating microchip. JAVMA 206 (12), 1838 PubMed.
  • Mrozek M, Fischer R, Trendelenburg M et al (1995) Microchip implant system used for animal identification in laboratory rabbits, guineapigs, woodchucks and amphibians. Lab Anim 29 (3), 339-344 PubMed.
  • Sorensen M A, Buss M S, Tyler M W et al (1995) Accuracy of microchip identification in dogs and cats. JAVMA 207 (6), 766-767 PubMed.
  • Ball D J, Argentieri G, Krause R et al (1991) Evaluation of a microchip implant system used for animal identification in rats. Lab Anim Sci 41 (2), 185-186 PubMed.

Other sources of information


  • Animalcare Limited, Common Road, Dunnington, York YO1 5RU, UK.
    Tel: +44 (0)1904 488661.