U.K. Vet Techs Ready for 2016 Microchip Law

Veterinary technicians in England and likely in Wales and Scotland are deemed adequately prepared to implant microchips in dogs.

Posters announcing mandatory microchipping of dogs come in versions for Scotland, England and Wales.

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English veterinary technicians are sufficiently trained to implant microchips in dogs and will not require additional skills when microchips are mandated in 2016, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons reported today.

Technicians in Wales and Scotland are likely to receive a similar waiver, the organization stated, but dog breeders across the United Kingdom who lack proper training will have to complete a course if they want to implant microchips themselves.

Mandatory microchipping was introduced in Northern Ireland in 2012 in an effort to return more stray dogs to their owners. The governments of England, Wales and Scotland passed similar legislation that set a microchip deadline of April 6, 2016, for all dogs at least 8 weeks old.

Owners of dogs without a microchip could be fined.

The British Veterinary Association is publicizing the requirement and prepared information posters that practice owners may place in their clinics.

“We need to work hard to make owners aware of the new law throughout this year, with animals microchipped as far in advance of the deadline as possible,” said BVA President John Blackwell, BVSc, MRCVS.

The U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) excused veterinarians from microchip training but considered requiring additional schooling for veterinary technicians. Negotiations with the BVA, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Nursing Association led to the conclusion that veterinary technicians are properly trained to implant microchips and could do it under a veterinarian’s supervision.

“This process will be helped very much by not compelling veterinary nurses to undertake additional training when they already undertake minor acts of veterinary surgery that are much more complex procedures than implanting a microchip,” Dr. Blackwell said.

Neil Smith, vice president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, said compulsory training would have been an unnecessary regulatory and financial burden on technicians.

“I am very pleased that Defra recognized this and agreed to exempt veterinary nurses from further training so long as they are under the direction of a veterinary surgeon,” Smith said.

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Fiona Andrew, RVN, president of the British Veterinary Nursing Association, said Defra’s decision “recognizes the professionalism and expertise of RVNs.”

“Veterinary nurses will play an important part in the drive to ensure dogs across the country are microchipped before the enforcement deadline,” Andrew said.

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