Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Microchip implantation

Synonym(s): Chipping, microchipping

Contributor(s): Michelle Ward, Livia Benato, Michelle Campbell-Ward, David Vella,


  • The implantable microchip is an animal identification device.
  • It is small (about the size of a grain of rice) and made of inert substances.  
  • Once implanted in the subcutaneous space, the microchips unique serial number can be retrieved via a scanner.
  • All current microchip and scanner manufacturers have adopted an international standard so that microchips produced by one company can be read by any scanner, regardless of make.
  • The 15-digit codes must not be duplicated in any country for at least 100 years. 
  • There are two types of microchip: FDX (full duplex) and HDX (half duplex). FDX or FDX-B (those most commonly used in dogs, cats and horses) are appropriate for rabbits. 
  • Microchips are designed to have a life expectancy which far exceeds the life expectancy of a rabbit so failure is highly unlikely.
  • National and international databases exist which record the names/addresses/contact details of owners of rabbits and other animals that have been microchipped.    
  • Scanning equipment is used by veterinary clinics, rescue facilities, cruelty/welfare organizations, zoos and large breeding facilities to identify individual rabbits and where indicated, locate owners of lost or stolen pets. They can also be used to prove ownership of an animal.

Print out the Owner factsheet onPermanent identification of your rabbit  Permanent identification of your rabbit  to give to your clients.


  • Identification.


  • Permanent.
  • Tamperproof. 
  • Sedation or anesthesia not required.
  • Easy to implant by trained lay personnel or veterinarians. 
  • Owner contact details can be altered at any time after implantation without removal/replacement of the microchip.
  • May facilitate accurate record-keeping for large-scale breeders.


  • Migration of microchip is possible. This is not likely to be harmful but may result in failure to successfully identify an animal.
  • Risk of introducing infection via the implantation site (risk considered very low if appropriate technique employed).
  • No visible means of identification. 
  • No central database exists for all microchipped animals. The database storing a particular rabbit owners details depends on manufacturer or supplier of the implanted microchip.






This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references fromPubMedandVetMedResource.
  • BSAVA (2006)Microchip Implant Manual Cats/Dogs.Website:
  • Butcher R (1997)The new ISO standard. Which microchip should I use?JSAP38(8), 369-370PubMed.
  • Ingwersen W (1996)Everything you ever wanted to know about microchips.Can Vet J37(11), 667-671PubMed
  • Mrozek M, Fischer R, Trendelenburg M & Zillmann U (1995)Microchip implant system used for animal identification in laboratory rabbits, guinea pigs, woodchucks and amphibians.Lab Anim29(3), 339-344PubMed.
  • Paiba G (1993)Rabbit leg identification rings.JSAP34(11), 585.

Other sources of information

  • Code of Practice for Microchip Distributors & Manufacturers. Microchip Advisory Group, BSAVA.
  • Microchip Report 2004. Microchip Advisory Group, BSAVA.
  • Report on the Identification and Registration of Companion Animals 2002. Companion Animal Welfare Council.  
  • Tracer® Pet Identification System: A Guide for Veterinary Practices. Bayer plc.