Animals – Missing without a trace

Before I begin my little blurb about a veterinary topic, I would like to say thank you to all the clients I have seen in the last 3.5 years. It was a pleasure treating your beloved pets and getting to know you. Time has come for me to set sail to my home country, the Netherlands. I can hopefully keep the island feeling on the island called Texel. Texel was recently named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 destinations in Europe. Yes, that is where the Texel sheep comes from. This breed is known for its excellent meat, albeit this coming with some lambing difficulty at times. You will no doubt find me lambing sheep in April and May in the middle of the night or performing a caesarean section. The largest dairy herd on Texel has 200 cows (twice the Dutch herd size average).

Back to the aim of this column, to provide you with some useful animal related information. I am taking my cat with me and she had to be microchipped. No problem, because it was done at six months old. My cat is a well looked after, but slightly odd-walking little girl, and without a collar and a microchip people would think she is a stray. It gives me peace of mind that clinics all around the country (and world) and the SPCA can read her chip and contact me. It’s not mandatory to microchip a cat, but I would strongly recommend it. It can be extremely difficult to tell two fully black, female cats with a similar build, apart. A microchip can make all the difference as it is unique to that animal. When registered in the New Zealand Companion Animal Register, your cat or dog can be traced back to you for as long as it lives for only a small one-off fee.

The Government says: “Since 1 July 2006, all dogs registered in New Zealand for the first time (except farm dogs used for stock control) must be microchipped. This applies mainly to puppies when they are first registered at three months. Dogs classified as dangerous or menacing, dogs impounded but not registered and dogs registered but impounded twice are also required to be microchipped. It is up to the owner to take the microchipping certificate to the council to have the information recorded as part of the registration process and checked to confirm that it meets the regulations. Unless the information is recorded on the council data base, the owner is not complying with the law and a dog picked up straying may be rehomed or euthanized rather than returned to its owner. The only safe way to ensure that your pet can be returned to you if it is lost or stolen is to have it microchipped and recorded on the council’s data base.  It’s up to you to notify the council if information has changed, for example if the dog has died or has been transferred to a new owner.”

So why wait! Get your vet to insert a rice grain-size microchip that causes minimal grief to the animal and a lifetime of traceability.