Make sure Pet and owner match #ScanMe and #CheckThatChip.
Our aim is to see all vets acknowledging and implementing as a ‘Code of Practice’ the scanning and checking of microchips in practices up and down the country. Scanning and Checking will reunite missing and stolen pets that have been sold on or kept by a finder. Scanning and checking will help pet owners with updating their contact details. Vets can play a major role in helping missing pets find their way home.
The bottom line is that on the web pages of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) the information to vets is:- ‘There is no legal requirement for the veterinary team to scan a dog when presented to the practice, except prior to administering a rabies vaccination and for the completion of official documentation such as a pet passport.‘
Any Best Practice to scan and check microchips advice following this opening gambit falls into oblivion but keeps pet owners happy; as they assume all vets will, until they have a stolen/missing pet and find out the truth.
It is law to microchip all UK dogs but not law to scan them. Pet owners must rely on a duty of care from the veterinary profession. Some do and some don’t.
What does the ‘Best Practice’ recommendation from BVA, BSAVA and RCVS to scan pets at registration mean? Sadly BVA and BSAVA can only make this a recommendation, as vets make their own practice policies. We believe RCVS are the only body that can give a directive, making scanning and checking new pets at registration a ‘code of practice’ that all vets must adhere too. So ‘Best Practice’ means that if a vet practice doesn’t want to scan and check microchips they don’t have to.
When we asked BVA about a ‘code of practice’ they said:- Your query about a possible RCVS directive and its application by individual practitioners is probably best asked of the RCVS; I’m not sure where their standard-setting authority would stop and where legislation would take over.
We have asked pet owners to write to their MP’s to help with the campaign to get vets scanning and checking microchips. Reading the MP’s replies they are also misled by the ‘Best Practice’ recommendation, assuming that vets would scan and check pets microchips. It makes sense doesn’t it, especially as it’s now law to microchip?
A typical reply from MP’s, this one is from Matt Warman MP:-
“I also welcome that microchips were made compulsory for all dogs in England from April 2016. I think this is a step in the right direction. With regard to compulsory scanning, I have been assured that it is already considered the best practice for stray pets to be scanned for microchips when received by vets and rescue centres. Guidance from the British Veterinary Association advises veterinarians always to scan animals brought into their surgeries for the first time.”
The only reason Compulsory Microchipping was introduced is purely on the grounds to reduce the costs on stray dogs to local councils.
Defra have also encouraged the veterinary profession and others with their advice not to scan and check microchips:- “The Government does not consider it necessary to require everyone who comes into contact with a dog to scan it in order to check compliance with the microchipping requirements or to establish whether the dog is lost or stolen.”
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 21st January’16:- Read more:- https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104379
This is a big issue for owners of stolen pets that have been sold on to new unsuspecting owners and people who find a dog and keep it. If your dog walks into a vet practice with their new owner, we assume our dog will be scanned and the registration checked on the appropriate database and we would get the call to pick up our dog but sadly this is not what happens. There are vets who do scan and check but this needs to be supported 100%. The microchip data could be checked later in the day or can be instantly checked if a Halo Microchip Scanner is used. This would also help remind owners of keeping their contact details up to date.
Defra informed us way back in January’15 and nothing has changed :- You will note, particularly from the embedded link to the Royal College of Veterinary Services (RCVS) code of practice, that there is advice on scanning strays and dealing with stolen dogs that have been identified. This does not cover scanning dogs brought into the surgery for other purposes, including scanning dogs brought in for the first time for treatment. Although this is considered best practice by RCVS and the British Veterinary Association, a code of practice does not currently exist. There has always been wariness about compulsory scanning, as it is not the role of veterinary surgeons to ‘police’ their clients. There are also concerns about compulsory scanning deterring holders of animals from seeking veterinary assistance if they are in an ownership dispute. The RCVS have, however, advised that they will be reviewing its guidance on scanning this year in light of the compulsory microchipping regulations.
Embedded link & Flow chart information from RCVS:- http://www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/client-confidentiality-and-microchipped-animals-flow-chart/1microchipping-flowchart.pdf.
Information on the BVA webpage :- There is no legal requirement for the veterinary team to scan a dog when presented to the practice, except prior to administering a rabies vaccination and for the completion of official documentation such as a pet passport. However BVA would recommend as good practice to:
scan all dogs on first presentation and scan all lost/strays
make a note of the microchip number in the dog’s medical records
check scanned details against the microchip database
Previous BVA President Robin Hargreaves who argued against scanning microchips in the ‘Microchipping Alliance’ meetings and won, dashing all pet owners hopes, says:- I see Compulsory Microchipping as being solely concerned with dogs and their owners, with vets and others helping make it as effective as possible for the benefit of dogs and to reduce the social costs of lost animals.
Clearly there are some who feel vets should be included in the legislation and have obligations enshrined in the law. I have argued against this, particularly the requirement for vets to scan every dog they see and be responsible for checking its provenance on whatever data base as a legal obligation. I am pleased to see this is not part of the regulations to come into effect, but we are not entirely excluded from the new requirements (Reporting adverse reaction to a microchip).
Microchip Scanning advice from BSAVA:- https://www.bsava.com/Resources/Veterinary-resources/Microchipping/Scanning.
Compulsory Microchip Regulations guidance from BVA and BSAVA:- https://www.bva.co.uk/uploadedFiles/Content/News,_campaigns_and_policies/Policies/Companion_animals/Compulsory%20Microchipping%20of%20Dogs%20Regulations__Guidance_BVA_BSAVA.pdf.
To find your MP’s email address click this link and don’t forget to include your postal address with your postcode:-
We want justice for all missing and stolen pets, let down by the microchip system and tougher pet theft legislation.
The #ScanMe petition is now closed, Defra’s response:-
The Government does not consider it necessary to require everyone who comes into contact with a dog to scan it in order to check compliance with the microchipping requirements or to establish whether the dog is lost or stolen.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 21st January’16
Read more:- https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104379
Robin Hargreaves says