15,000 of New Zealand’s Furry Citizens Might Have Defective Microchips

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One of the worst things that could happen to a pet parent is that their furball gets lost. In most states, strays and lost pets whose owners can’t be traced get put down after a certain period, which is why microchips have been a literal lifesaver for many four-legged babies. Having your pet microchipped makes it easier for animal control services or a good Samaritan to reconnect you with your cat or dog, and it stays in your pet for their entire life. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for some of New Zealand’s pet owners.

It seems that one particular brand of microchips turned out to deteriorate over them, which resulted in a loss of information, rendering it completely useless.

The problematic microchip is named BioTec, which was manufactured by a pharmaceutical company Virbac. It was first introduced in 2009 and promptly recalled in 2012, when the problems with its functionality were first noticed. However, it’s estimated that at least 15,000 pets still have the defective microchips, as it was concluded that all of the chips from the BioTec line might fail over time.

As the complaints kept on pouring in, Virbac decided to step in and offer a replacement chip for all affected pets, at no additional cost. Veterinary clinics will be contacting the owners of pets who have been given the faulty chips, but you can check if your pet is at risk yourself. The New Zealand Veterinary Association says to contact your vet if the 15 digit number for your pet’s microchip begins with 900088, 9000088, or 9000010, and schedule a replacement.

Until this problem is resolved, pet owners are advised to put collars with identification tags  on their cats and dogs. Even though there is a low chance your pet is among the affected ones, it’s better to be safe than sorry!