Chip fail­ure on cat a nasty sur­prise

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Heather McKay and Sjaak Te Brake were not happy when they dis­cov­ered their best chance of find­ing their miss­ing cat was a dud.

The mi­crochip they’d had im­planted in Wee Don­ald when he was a kit­ten was from a faulty batch.

‘‘The one thing I had to feel good about when he went miss­ing, was that we had him chipped.

‘‘I thought if he didn’t turn up in the next few days, or even weeks, some­one was go­ing to come across him and take him to the vet and we’d get him back,’’ McKay says.

They want to warn other pet own­ers to get their pets’ mi­crochips checked.

In 2012 and 2013 a run of Back­Home chips made by Vi­brac was found to be fail­ing at a high rate. Me­dia picked up on the story at the time, but not all pet own­ers got the mes­sage.

McKay and Te Brake called their vet to get Wee Don­ald’s mi­crochip num­ber, so they could check their con­tact de­tails were up to date on the New Zealand Com­pan­ion An­i­mal Reg­is­ter.

They soon dis­cov­ered Wee Don­ald had one of the chips from the faulty batch.

The vet sent a let­ter to McKay and Te Brake about the faulty mi­crochips, but they never re­ceived it.

‘‘If we’d got­ten the let­ter we would have taken him in the next day be­cause we love him. He’s part of the fam­ily,’’ McKay says.

Wee Don­ald re­turned three weeks after go­ing miss­ing – much to the de­light of his own­ers.

His chip has now been re­placed.

Aside from the faulty batch, it is very rare for mi­crochips to fail, SPCA Auck­land ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bob Ker­ridge says.

Many thou­sands of an­i­mals are mi­crochipped and the lat­est monthly re­port showed there were just 40 fail­ures iden­ti­fied, he says.

‘‘Over­all mi­crochip­ping is very ef­fec­tive and suc­cess­ful, and in most cases noth­ing goes wrong,’’ Ker­ridge says.

‘‘Most peo­ple are now say­ing it’s a great form of in­surance.

‘‘If your an­i­mal goes miss­ing it’s the best way to get it back.’’

Chips do not re­quire main­te­nance. ‘‘Once they are in­serted they are there for life,’’ Ker­ridge says.

It is good prac­tice for vets to check an an­i­mal’s mi­crochip at rou-

tine ap­point­ments, he says.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Nine lives: Heather McKay, left, and Sjaak Te Brake of Pt Che­va­lier are pleased to have their cat back, after dis­cov­er­ing that Wee Don­ald’s mi­crochip wasn’t work­ing when he went miss­ing.

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