VIRBAC MICROCHIP ISSUE AFFECTS 15,000 NZ PETS
Press Release: 10 Jan 2018
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Virbac have announced a replacement program for one version of their microchips called Bio-Tec. They are recommending that a replacement chip be inserted. This potentially affects around 15,000 animals. While this is a large number, in the context of New Zealand’s 1.8 million cats and dogs, and the over 580,000 NZCAR microchipped and registered pets, it is not as big an issue as some people have suggested.
More importantly it is Virbac who have initiated this replacement programme as they are concerned these 15,000 affected chips MAY fail. The NZCAR commend Virbac for being proactive and tackling this issue sensibly, rather than ignoring it and putting animals at risk. We support the idea that it is better to have two working microchips rather than one microchip that is not working.
The important message though is a failed chip does NOT mean a pet will be automatically euthanised if trapped. No Council in New Zealand is advocating this action and it is disappointing that people are using this chip issue to worry pet owners with this scaremongering
The other important aspect is that lost pets can still be found and got back home even if the chip has failed. The NZCAR not only offers its microchip database for lost and found pets, but also now offers a facial recognition service (see pip.animalregister.co.nz). This highly advanced system can take the image of any found pet and compare it against hundreds of thousands of images within a few minutes. The system is also designed so that if it does not find an exact match it can also display close matches allowing the NZCAR team to ensure that all possibilities are checked.
The NZCAR also offers our free LostPet.co.nz services when an unchipped animal is located. This free network creates a listing that can be searched, it geocodes the lostpet details onto a map so all lost and found animals in an area can be viewed and it also notifies Neighbourly users in the locality too.
The NZCAR will continue to work with Virbac to ensure that the affected owners can be contacted, and we will continue to ensure that accurate information about microchipping and Councils is circulated.
Following the 2011 Quake, the NZCAR handled over 25,000 phone calls and faxes in a 12 week period. We also placed over 800 adverts for lost and found pets. Of the unregistered pets we got 25% home within 3 days. Of the microchipped and registered pets we got 85% home within 3 hours of being found.
A microchipped and registered pet is still over three times more likely to get home than an unregistered pet. While a small number of chips MAY fail in the future this does not reduce the value of having your pet chipped and registered on the NZCAR.