In February 2013 the UK Government announced that from the 6th April 2016 all dogs in England will be required to be microchipped. (A similar provision will apply in Wales from 1st March 2015. Microchip identification of dogs is already mandatory in Northern Ireland and at the time of preparation of this leaflet the Scottish government was still consulting on the issue.)
After this date, any owners of dogs found by the police or local authorities without a microchip will be given a short period to comply with the microchipping law. If they do not, they may face a fine of up to £500.
In light of the above, the Microchip Trade Association (MTA) approached the VMD to set up a monitoring scheme to oversee reports of potential adverse events following microchipping.
The VMD does not regulate the animal microchip market, but in view of the success of its reporting scheme for veterinary medicines and the need for impartiality, the VMD agreed to take on this role.
The scheme has been set up with funding provided partly by Defra and partly by the companies belonging to the MTA.
The microchip is injected just under the skin and provides animals with permanent identification without any scarring or disfigurement.
It is already a requirement for all animals using the Pet Travel Scheme and all horses born after 1st July 2009 must be microchipped. Certain species of exotic animals such as tortoises are required to be microchipped to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
How do microchips work?
Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) technology uses scanners which send out an electromagnetic field. The microchip is energised by the field and transmits its unique number code back to the scanner. The unique microchip number is displayed on the scanner. The microchip contains no battery and so in most cases there is no limit to the number of times that it can be scanned and read.
The microchip number is stored in national databases along with the details of the animal and owner that were provided when the chip was registered.