Makati launches Asean’s first pet microchipping program

Makati City has formally launched its citywide pet microchipping program—the first in Southeast Asia—aimed at animal identification, pet recovery and rabies prevention.

More than 30,000 cats and dogs from 27 barangays and six villages will be implanted with PET iCHIPs by representatives of the city’s Veterinary Services Offices (VSO) over the next few months.

On Thursday Mayor Abigail  Binay kicked off the program by having her own pets implanted with the PET iCHIPs. The mayor brought her three pet dogs: Choco, a poodle; Lucia, a shih tzu; and Tory, a pug, to the session hall at the Makati City Hall where the launch was held.

Binay also encouraged residents, including city government employees, to take advantage of the free program and have their pets microchipped.

“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,” the mayor said.

VSO Officer in Charge Dr. Jing Mangahas explained that the microchip is a computer chip enclosed in a small glass cylinder, which is no larger than a grain of rice. It is injected under the pet’s skin quickly and almost painlessly. It does not require any anesthesia.

The microchips, which use RFID technology, are implanted between the shoulder blades and contain a unique 15-digit code.  They serve as a permanent pet ID and are read by a microchip scanner. The codes give authorities access to the pet’s name, its owner’s name and address, attending veterinarian, as well as rabies-vaccination records.  This, in turn, will help the VSO closely monitor and check the number of animals that have already been given antirabies shots.

Mangahas said that, apart from the microchips, the VSO will also be issuing a “pet passport” for each dog. This will assist owners who travel with their dogs, as well as those who bring dogs in from abroad.

Makati is the first local government unit to implement a large-scale pet microchipping program. The technology has been used by private veterinarians for years, but the city government is providing it for free.

Mangahas noted that the microchipping program will reduce the cost of redundant rabies vaccination for pet animals and humans. It will also promote an absolute pet-recovery program. The microchips can identify pets, prevent theft, monitor the pet’s temperature and aid in disease monitoring.

Likewise, it can trace breed and genealogy, as well as assist in the transport and rescue of animals.

A study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed that microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2 percent of the time, compared to only 21.9 percent for dogs without microchips.

At the same time, cats with microchips were returned to their owners 38.5 percent of the time, compared to only 1.8 percent for cats who were not implanted with microchips.

The schedules for microchipping in each barangay will be posted by the VSO on the My Makati Facebook page.

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Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco is a grant recipient and fellow of 2017 media fellowship program by Probe Media Foundation Inc. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Mass Communication from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). After graduating in 2000 she immediately worked as a newspaper correspondent for Today Newspaper until 2005. Within those five years in Today Newspaper, she was assigned to cover the Eastern Police and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Rizal Province, and the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Tourism (DOT). In October of 2005, she became a correspondent for the Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing, Inc. She covers Health, Education, MMDA, the local government units in the eastern and southern portions of the metropolis, and Rizal Province.

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