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Animals 2015, 5(2), 332-348;

Problems Associated with the Microchip Data of Stray Dogs and Cats Entering RSPCA Queensland Shelters

School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Wacol Animal Care Campus, QLD 4076, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pauleen Bennett
Received: 9 February 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Welfare of Shelter Animals)
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Simple Summary

Microchip identification has become an important tool to reunite stray dogs and cats with their owners, and is now compulsory in most states of Australia. Improvement of the microchipping system in Australia is limited by a lack of published Australian data documenting the problems experienced by shelter staff when using microchip data to contact the owner of a stray animal. In this study we determine the character and frequency of inaccurate microchip data to identify weaknesses in the current microchipping system. This information could be used to develop strategies that increase the accuracy of microchip data that will increase the reclaiming of stray animals.


A lack of published information documenting problems with the microchip data for the reclaiming of stray animals entering Australian shelters limits improvement of the current microchipping system. A retrospective study analysing admission data for stray, adult dogs (n = 7258) and cats (n = 6950) entering the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland between January 2012 and December 2013 was undertaken to determine the character and frequency of microchip data problems and their impact on outcome for the animal. Only 28% of dogs and 9% of cats were microchipped, and a substantial proportion (37%) had problems with their data, including being registered to a previous owner or organisation (47%), all phone numbers incorrect/disconnected (29%), and the microchip not registered (14%). A higher proportion of owners could be contacted when the microchip had no problems, compared to those with problems (dogs, 93% vs. 70%; cats, 75% vs. 41%). The proportion of animals reclaimed declined significantly between microchipped animals with no data problems, microchipped animals with data problems and non-microchipped animals—87%, 69%, and 37%, respectively, for dogs and 61%, 33%, and 5%, respectively, for cats. Strategies are needed to increase the accuracy of microchip data to facilitate the reclaiming of stray dogs and cats. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog; cat; microchip; data; stray; shelter; RSPCA dog; cat; microchip; data; stray; shelter; RSPCA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lancaster, E.; Rand, J.; Collecott, S.; Paterson, M. Problems Associated with the Microchip Data of Stray Dogs and Cats Entering RSPCA Queensland Shelters. Animals 2015, 5, 332-348.

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