Chip failure on cat a nasty surprise
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.
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.