MAKATI residents can start availing of free microchipping for their pets under a new city-wide veterinary program to ensure all companion animals are vaccinated against rabies and can be easily identified and recovered in case they are lost or stolen.
Makati is the first local government unit in the country to introduce this kind of program for its estimated 30,000 plus “petizens” from 27 barangays and six villages. A pet cat or dog need only to be at least 300g heavy to qualify for a chip implant.
The plan is to first roll out the program in the affluent villages of Urdaneta, Magallanes, Bel-Air, San Lorenzo, Dasmariñas and Forbes Park. Makati residents from other barangays can avail of the free pet microchipping based on schedules that will be posted by the VSO on the My Makati Facebook page. Mangahas said bonafide Makati residents are also welcome to bring their pets anytime at designated microchipping sites like the Makati Fire Station.
The Pet iChips, sourced from Plaridel Products and Services, Inc., come in small glass cylinders and no longer than a grain of rice. A chip can be quickly and painlessly injected under the pet's skin with no need for anesthesia, said Dr. Jing Mangahas, officer-in-charge of the Makati Veterinary Services Offices (VSO).
The chip will be implanted onto pets by representatives of the city's veterinary office over the next few months. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the pet microchip is implanted between the shoulder blades and will have a unique 15-digit code. The code serves as a permanent pet ID that can be read by a microchip scanner. The code bears the pet's name, owner's name and address and the pet's health and vaccination records. Makati has procured 35 scanners from Plaridel for the 32 barangays and the city veterinary office.
Mayor Abby Binay kicked off the program by having her dogs implanted with the Pet iChip during the launch. She encouraged her constituents, including city government employees to have their pets microchipped, too.
“These Pet iChips are your pets' way back to you. Collars and tags can fall off or be removed but microchips will stay in place for many, many years. This technology will help pet owners like myself monitor the health and safety of our animals. It will help us become more responsible pet owners,” Binay said.
“We launched this to require our residents to have their pets vaccinated. In the process, we will have something like a pet census in our city,” Binay added.
The pet-friendly project will result in a dabatase of Makati petizens that reflect their health records, particularly the validity of their anti-rabies shots. Registered dogs get a printed pet passport that owners can bring when they both travel.
Another beauty of this project is it could prevent redundant and costly rabies shots when a vaccinated dog or cat bites a person because the chip makes it easier to prove a pet's anti-rabies record. The chip is also a deterrent against pet theft.
Here's a video clip where, towards the end, Mayor Binay told her dog that nobody could steal her anymore after being chipped.
A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) showed that microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2 percent of the time compared to only 21.9 percent for dogs without microchips. Cats with microchips were also reunited with their owners 38.5 percent of the time compared to only 1.8 percent for cats without microchips that went missing.
Mangahas told MetroPets that dogs caught by the city pound and are being retrieved by their true owners from Makati will also be vaccinated against rabies and implanted with a chip before they are released. -- MetroPets