The city government of Makati is set to launch a citywide microchipping program for an estimated 32,000 dogs.
The project, according to Mayor Abigail Binay, is part of the city’s animal identification program, making Makati the first local government unit in the country to implement the use of PET iCHIP technology in a large-scale setting.
“Through the microchipping program, we are protecting both pet dogs and their owners. The technology will enable us to keep tabs on dogs, ensure that they are in the best of health, and return them to their rightful owners in case they get lost. This is important for people like us who consider dogs as part of our families,” she said.
A dog lover herself, Binay instructed the city’s Veterinary Services Office officer-in-charge Dr. Jing Mangahas to implement the program in all 27 barangays and six villages. The microchips are free of charge and will be implanted by licensed veterinarians from the VSO.
The bio-thermal microchips, no larger than a grain of rice, will contain information about the dog and its owner, as well as data on when the dog was vaccinated against rabies.
These details will be uploaded to Makati City’s database, which will allow the VSO to closely monitor and check the number of dogs which have been given anti-rabies shots.
Mangahas said they already have 7,000 PET iCHIPs on hand and that the project will be launched in mid-October, starting with dogs that have existing records at the VSO. The rest of the microchips will be delivered within the year, she said.
Embedding microchips on dogs has significant advantages. First, it will reduce the cost of redundant vaccination for pet animals as well as humans. It will also promote an absolute pet recovery program since the owner, address, contact information and the dog’s name are all entered in a database that various agencies have access to.
The PET iCHIPs can be implanted on both mature dogs and puppies. The microchips are especially useful to pet owners who travel abroad with their dogs, since the chips to be used comply with international standards and the 15-digit numeric code can be scanned anywhere.
Apart from the microchip, the VSO will also be issuing “pet passports” for each dog. This will assist owners who travel with their dogs as well as those who bring dogs in from abroad, Mangahas added.
The microchips can identify pets, prevent theft, increase pet recovery after loss, monitor the pet’s temperature and aid in disease monitoring, trace breed and genealogy as well as assist in the transport and rescue of animals.
The PET iCHIPs use RFID technology. Once implanted, they are activated for life unless the chip is surgically removed. The PET iCHIP will serve as a permanent pet ID and is read by passing a microchip scanner over the dog’s shoulder blades.
Makati City will be using the passive-type microchip which works without batteries, Mangahas added.
As early as now, the VSO chief is appealing to Makati pet owners to support the campaign by having their pets tagged with the PET iCHIP. Residents may check the My Makati Facebook page for further announcements and schedules for microchip implantation.