All horses should be microchipped

A new law requiring horses be microchipped has been introduced today (25 June, 2018) in a bid to crack down on abuse and improve welfare.

The new legislation, which was laid before Parliament, means it will be mandatory from October 2020 for all owners to microchip their ponies, horses and donkeys – regardless of the animal’s age.

The new Central Equine Database will then allow local authorities and police to track down the owners of dumped horses, make sure they are punished and ensure the animals are given the care they deserve. It will also mean lost or stolen horses will be reunited with their owners more easily, Defra explained.

Lord Gardiner, animal welfare minister, said: “The Government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare and it is completely unacceptable hundreds of horses and ponies are left abandoned every year by irresponsible owners. That is why we have today laid new regulations in Parliament requiring horses to be microchipped.

“This will bolster the ability of local authorities and police to identify abandoned animals, ensuring these beautiful creatures receive the care they deserve and that those who mistreat them will face the consequences.”

In a statement, Defra said: “We are working closely with vets and the British Horse Council to highlight the change in regulations, explaining horse owners have until October 2020 to make sure all horses are microchipped. This extra time will allow horse owners to combine microchipping with a routine visit to, or from, their vet with the procedure costing around £25 to £30.”

RSPCA assistant director of external affairs David Bowles said: “We are delighted regulations to ensure horses of all ages should be microchipped are set to become a reality.

“The RSPCA rescued almost 1,000 horses last year [2017], and a huge majority were not microchipped, making it virtually impossible to trace the owners. Heartbreakingly, our inspectors are frequently faced with horses that have been dumped while very sick, dying, or sometimes even dead.

“We believe this extension of the current rules on compulsory microchipping will go some way to help find those irresponsible owners that abandon their horses as well as helping owners be reunited with their animals that have been stolen.”

If horse owners do not microchip their horses by October 2020 they could face sanctions from their local authority, including a compliance notice and, as a last resort, a fine of up to £200.

The regulations for the database will, subject to Parliamentary approval, come into force on 1 October, 2018.

They are similar in nature to the legislation which requires all dogs to be microchipped. But crucially with a centralised database.

Horse microchipping is veterinary only

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Big difference in fines between local authorities

Fines issued to pet owners who fail to microchip their dog as legally required vary hugely around the country – with some councils fining individuals FIVE times as much as in other areas and one owner fined nearly £2,000!

Ahead of the second anniversary of the compulsory microchipping law, Pets at Home submitted Freedom of Information requests to every city, county, district and borough council in the UK to see which areas were fining the most dog owners. While the retailer found the number of dog owners being fined varied, what was most interesting was the disparity in fines nationwide

For instance, the 34 dog owners fined by the Isle of Wight Council were fined an average of £25 each. However, this cost was small when compared with the six Hull dog owners who were fined an average of £447 apiece and the £1,932.50 fine for a single dog owner in London’s Hounslow!

Pets at Home’s research found that 103 dog owners had been fined by 16 councils for failing to microchip their four-legged friend since it became compulsory in April 2016. Collectively, these individuals have been fined £18,802, which makes the national average fine £182.54 per dog owner.

Estimates suggest one in eight dog owners hasn’t yet microchipped their pet, meaning hundreds of thousands of animal lovers are breaking the law, possibly accidentally, and as such face possible high legal costs.

Of the 16 councils that had fined pet owners, the Isle of Wight Council had been most proactive, fining 34 dog owners. This was followed by Coventry City Council with 19 and Sheffield City Council with 12.

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BSAVA 2018

We were there again, always a great show for us, chance to speak to lots of friends of Vetark our sister company who kindly let us have some space. The National Indoor Arena at Birmingham is a fantastic space and swallows the thousands of vets with ease.

Vetark were launching their new EU licensed probiotic Avipro Plus for dogs

Vets are always interested in our Universal Scanner especially, this reads every chip used worldwide - many countries do not use the ISO microchips we use, and so their chips can be missed when the dogs are scanned.

Breeders come to the UK to participate in shows like Crufts, they have 30 days to re-chip a dog with a non-ISO chip using an ISO one. Re-chipping seems unreasonable to some but an owner could lose the dog on day 1 and nobody would be able to read it unless they had a Universal scanner. This could result in the loss of a valuable stud dog etc.

Thats why we donated scanners to all of the airport animal teams!

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Scottish Wildcats microchipped with Trovan microchips

We are really pleased to be able to sponsor the Scottish Wildcat project currently underway in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage are involved in trapping and identifying the cats. They are taking DNA samples to establish 'purity' as crossing with domestic cats is a real issue and dilution of the gene pool is already happening. Trovan chips will enable them to identify cats which have been sampled already and can identify which cats have been assessed as 'pure'.

We will post more information and hopefully pictures as we have it. Meanwhile they have a website where you can learn more, meet the team, sign up for a Newsletter about the work.

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We exhibited again at the London Vet Show

We had a section of the Vetark Professional stand (our sister company)  to display the TROVAN microchips and the various readers. It gave us a great opportunity to speak to lots of veterinary surgeons and explain the benefits of trovan microchips. We also spoke to the team from Wildlife Vets International who have joined us in sponsoring the Vulture project. The more the merrier.

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Vultures are under severe threat

petDetect are sponsoring this very important project by supplying scanners and microchips

In the world of raptor conservation, vultures are listed as one of the most threatened of all bird groups. The greatest threats likely occur in Africa, where there has been a 98% decrease in the vulture population from poisoning, from their use in black magic or tribal medicine, and from power lines (electrocution and collision); these problems are not expected to be resolved in the near future. According to published peer-reviewed data, some species of African vultures are expected to become extinct within 10 to 12 years; as such, these birds are in as great, or greater, risk as the rhinoceros.

Vultures typically receive poor press; however, they are enigmatic and highly intelligent raptors. Vultures—referred to as “nature’s clean-up crew”—form a key role in the ecosystem, consuming 75% of fallen stock in Africa, thereby controlling disease. A captive colony of these mostly social birds can provide an interesting and valuable experience for visitors, while concurrent educational materials can impart a vitally important conservation message.

VulPro, (subject to formal support of the South African government), is forging ties with the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP), most notably Jemima Parry-Jones MBE (JPJ) and her technical advisory team in an effort to improve the viability of these at-risk birds. VulPro plans to set up breeding colonies (both in and hopefully out of Africa) using flight-impaired birds that are no longer able to survive in the wild. VulPro is preparing to send the initial ‘Ark’ of 30 vultures to ICBP to create the first ex-situ breeding colony. This is similar to an earlier project where a conservation group out of South Africa sent rhinoceroses to safe locations around the world to save genetic material and preserve the species

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Petlog new charging system

Petlog have come up with a new charging model, its not just the simple £15 for premium now.

All new registrations received are set to basic – if the customer choses to remain on basic they will not incur any further charges for the lifetime of their pet as long as they don’t change address.

Should they move they will be offered the choice - change of address currently £10, or the option to take the lifetime Petlog premium package at the charge of £17. If the customer choses the £10 option and then moves again, they will be charged £10 and offered the Petlog Premium package again and so this will go on

Should the customer opt for the Petlog Premium lifetime package then they will not incur any further charges for the life of the pet whilst in their keepership, meaning they can update the database as many times as they like at no extra cost.

Should a keeper decide to sell their pet then the TOK kicks in. The new keeper has the option to TOK at basic for £6, meaning should they move then they will incur a charge of £10 for their change of address each time they move same as with first registration, however should they opt of Petlog Premium for £17 at the time of TOK they will not incur any charges for the life of the pet whilst in their keepership.

There is more info on this under petlog in the About menu above. Its important that you consider the reliability and long term stability of the database. Nobody will return your beloved pet if the database is unreliable.

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Another New website

When we took over pet-detect from Rosemary and became hyphenless petDetect we updated the old website. We opted to stay with the company who had run it for Rosemary. They took us to the next level, but in late May San and Richard who run the company decided to sell up and move on at end of June!

We thought long and hard and decided to ask Rob from Peakbridge to develop a website like the one he has developed and operated for years for our sister company Vetark. He has done it!

There may be a few teething problems and I hope that you will bear with us, but from our point of view developing the information side of the site is much easier than the old site. Magento, the system the old site was built on is great for running shops, but having information and downloads is tricky to operate.

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Understanding microchips

What is a microchip?

Although the whole transponder unit is often referred to as a microchip, or chip, the microchip itself is actually the tiny computer chip that contains the ID number assigned to the transponder. The microchip itself measures approximately 1mm sq. Each ID

number during the Trovan manufacturing process is encoded onto the microchip by a laser that etches a code onto the surface of the microchip prior to the transponder assembly. The microchip is attached to an integrated circuit that uses a coil of copper wire wound around an iron (ferrite) core. This functions as a tiny antenna to pick up the energy from the scanner, and to send the encoded ID number from the microchip back to the scanner. Between the copper coil and the microchip in some transponders is a capacitor that is used to ensure the antenna transmits its signal at a consistent rate and also aids to boost the signal. Due to the Trovan microchip's unique design, there is no requirement for a capacitor.

The ID-162 FDX-B ISO Standards compliant series features transponders with factory pre-programmed 15-digit ID codes. The first three numbers denote the manufacturer – Trovan are 956. There are then a series of noughts and then 6, 7 or 8 digits. FDX means Full DupleX - the microchip is able to receive and transmit a signal at the same time. The ISO standards also describe HDX transponders, which stand for Half DupleX, these microchips receive, store and send a signal on a constant cycle - they cannot send and receive a signal at the same time. HDX transponders are commonly used in cattle ear tags, and are not used for implanation in companion animals.

What is a transponder?

A transponder is simply the whole electronic device encapsulated in biocompatible glass. The size of the petDetect transponders are Regular 2.12mm x 11.5mm and Mini 1.4mm x 8mm, both fall under the category of a ‘micro-transponder’. They can be referred to by many names including microchips, chips, PIT tags, transponders and RFID devices.

How do microchips work?

Electronic identification is also referred to as “radio frequency identification”, or RFID. The use of this technology allows a microchip programmed with a unique identification number, around the size of a grain of rice, to be implanted in an animal. Microchips contain no internal power source - when implanted in the animal, the microchip remains totally passive until a signal is sent from the microchip scanner. Each scanner has a coil antennae which functions to send a signal to the microchip when the scanner is passed close to it. The radio waves sent by the scanner give the transponder enough power to transmit its 15-digit number back to the scanner. Once the scanner has picked up this signal from the microchip, decoded it and displayed the number, the microchip then remains dormant until a scanner is passed over it again. As the microchip is passive and is only powered when the scanner is passed over the area, it lasts for the lifetime of the animal. Microchips themselves are only programmed with the unique 15-digit number, they do not contain any pet or owner details. These details are stored alongside the microchip number on a microchip database, such as Petog. Once the animal is scanned and the microchip number obtained, an authorised person must then contact the database in order to obtain the owner/keeper details.

Are all microchips used worldwide ISO compliant?

Prior to the implementation of the ISO standard across the EU and most of the world, various microchip technologies were developed and produced. Most of these microchips are FDX-A format, programmed with numbers which are 10-digits long. These FDX-A microchips are now mostly found in older animals, lab animals or those in zoos. Owners of long lived exotic pets such as birds or tortoises may find that their pet has one of these microchips. The FDX-A technology is also still widely used in the USA, who have decided not to adopt the ISO standards. AVID also produce an encrypted microhip programmed with a 9-digit long number known as the AVID FriendChip, which requires a brand specific or universal scanner in order to be read. Because there are many imported animals and because FDX-A chips are still widely used in the USA we always recommend that vets, rescues, customs staff and other professionals use a universal scanner to ensure that they can read these microchips. Although many scanners are available which can read both FDX-B and FDX-A microchips, these scanners are generally only able to read the Destron/FECAVA FDX-A microchips, they cannot read the Trovan Unique or AVID FriendChip.

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The Trovan difference

If all microchips sold in the UK have to be ISO compliant, doesn't that mean that all microchips are the same?

The ISO standards only govern how manufacturers must encode the microchips, and how the microchips must respond when scanned with an appropriate scanner. The ISO standards are not a mark of build or material quality, and do not even guarantee code uniqueness - all of these remain the responsibility of the manufacturer.

So although all microchips available in the UK must conform to the ISO standards, there are still wide differences in the build quality and reliability of the different microchips available on the UK market. Understanding how each microchip may differ is crucial for implanters when deciding which supplier to use.

Trovan microchips are well known for their high quality and reliability - from the state of the art facilities, laser sealing and programming to a patented design that reduces the number of potential failure points, Trovan have taken animal microchips beyond the next level!

Proven Longevity and Reliability - In recent times there has been an increase in the number of low cost microchips arriving on the market. These microchips are generally manufactured outside Europe, have not been in use for very long, and, because of their use of low cost and inferior components, plus a more manual assembly process, they are often a poorer quality product. As a result they have a higher risk of problems such as low reliability, poor performance and even breakages. Trovan microchips are manufactured in Europe to the highest quality under six-sigma standards and are fully ISO 11784/11785 compliant.

900 prefix microchips are “shared manufacturer” microchips, and, compared to the long time proven microchip manufacturers like Trovan, have only been approved and manufactured since September 1st, 2004. Some have only entered the market very recently and are yet to be proven for reliability in the long term. Trovan microchips are used worldwide in zoos because they are well known for their reliability when used in long-lived species.

Direct bonding technology - The patented design of Trovan microchips drastically reduces the number of connections in the microchip, and it is connections where potential failures occur! The use of gold connectors reduces risks further still and six-sigma standards mean Trovan microchips are extremely reliable. The potential failure points of Trovan microchips are reduced to a third when compared to most competitors.

Laser Programmed Integrated Circuits - Trovan microchips contain laser programmed integrated circuits (IC’s). Most competing products use electronically programmed circuits called EEPROMs, (also written E2PROM - which stands for Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), that can be negatively and permanently damaged by electromagnetic interference. These electronically programmed IC’s can often only be guaranteed for a limited number of read cycles and for a maximum of 10 years. Many electronically programmed IC's have the potential for reprogramming ie. changing their identity. Some are actually manufactured as blanks to be written, others may not be locked so that they can be re-written.

A major concern is that some current  E2PROM microchips could be wiped by MRI operating at a high Tesla - now that this is available as a major diagnostic technique in dogs and cats the animals may have their  E2PROM microchips rendered useless in these cases. A good reason for using laser programmed microchips produced by Trovan.

Flexibility  – Our Trovan microchips can be supplied in both a two part system consisting of a needle and re-useable implant tool, or a convenient single use all-in-one format. We can also supply them in both the regular and mini size. Full flexibility for implanters to choose a system based on their preference.

Bioglass encapsulation - Trovan don't use anti-migration coatings which might cause problems, they encase the ferrite core and internal components in bioglass to ensure acceptability by the tissues. Non-bioglass capsules may contain aluminium and other potentially toxic materials. Bioglass is also the best material to provide full protection from bodily fluids and moisture.

This produces a microchip with outstanding reliability and longevity - obviously important everywhere, but especially vital for long living species such as birds and reptiles and many other zoo animals. Trovan microchips are in use in wild animals for conservation projects literally all over the world.

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Microchip Adverse Event Reporting

A significant development as a result of The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Legislation 2015 is the introduction of a formal Adverse Event Reporting system.

An adverse event can be viewed as an instance where complications have occurred a a result of microchipping. This is not as serious and scary as it sounds when you consider a microchip falling out due to rough puppy play is included. Managed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD for short) you should report any instances of microchip failure, migration and excessive pain/ suffering as a result of the procedure which occur in dogs. At petDetect, we're recommending our implanters report any possible events when they occur in ANY species as a prudent measure.
This is a positive step forward as it should eliminate unproven reports of issues linked to microchip insertion; giving a clearer picture of the issues and regularity in which they occur. It is hoped this will improve the microchipping industry as a whole.
If you are an implanter, vet or curious pet owner, you can visit our Adverse Event Reporting FAQ for more information on what classes as an Adverse Event, the system, and how one is reported.

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BSAVA 2017

We had a really good time at BSAVA, as always. Lots of people to see and speak to. A good chance to get petDetect out there, in the past pet-Detect didn't attend BSAVA but we have the opportunity to go with our sister company Vetark. Quite a few vets already use Trovan microchips based on the stellar reputation globally, but its always nice to speak to more and explain the Universal scanners and the long-handled scanners.

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Microchipping sturgeon for caviar

Caviar has always been expensive, but now that the methods for harvesting it from fish without killing them the fish become very valuable in their own right, because they are producing the next crop.

The producers have selected the world renowned Trovan microchips for their reliability. They are implanted in the 'shoulder' area, well away from the caviar! This is a different site from where we implant koi.

This means that the caviar produced can be tracked back to the individual fish.

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