Identity Tags and Microchips
The car skidded as it pulled up outside our clinic door. The driver leapt out and rushed inside. ‘I’ve hit a dog’, he stammered ‘ I think it’s dead’. We lifted the body from the boot of his car, and I could see at once that the dog was still breathing. The nurse helped me move the motionless body into the examining room, and we carried out an initial assessment.
The dog was in a state of deep shock and had suffered fractures to both back legs. However, there were no life threatening injuries. With the right treatment, this dog was going to survive. But who was his owner? Did somebody care for him or was he an unwanted waif? He had no collar and no identity tag.
If he was somebody’s pet, then how could we find them? The dog could have strayed several miles from home, so asking around the vicinity of the accident might not help. We could contact the Gardai, and we could inform the different animal charities, but unless his owners made a serious effort to look for their dog, we were unlikely to be able to locate them.
As a dogowner, it’s very simple to prevent this sort of situation from arising. A collar with a small metal disc, engraved with a telephone number, is all that is needed. If an animal has an identity tag, then within minutes of an accident the owner can be contacted.
Electronic Microchips and Scanners
It is also possible to have animals permanently identified using tiny electronic microchips that are injected painlessly into the back of the neck. Nowadays, whenever an unknown dog is brought to our clinic, we use a special scanner to check for a microchip. If the dog has been microchipped, the scanner’s display screen will show us a code number that will give us the details of the dog’s owner.
Fortunately, the dog had indeed been microchipped. Within minutes of his arrival at our clinic, we were speaking to his owner on the phone. The dog recovered well from his injuries and the story ended happily. But many dogs are lost every year, and unidentified dogs are sometimes euthanased at vet clinics because their owner remains unknown.
Make sure your dog can find you when he needs you – give him an identity tag or a microchip.