The nightmare of every pet owner is the escape of their beloved rabbit!
The uncertainty about the whereabouts of the animal roommate can be quite grueling. Especially for rabbit owners, the despair is great in such a case, because the probability that the beloved pelt-nose finds its way home on its own, is almost zero. In addition, there is the great danger that it will fall victim to one of its predators.
To save you and especially your pet from such a terrible experience, there is the possibility of chipping.
How the whole thing works, whether it is dangerous and what alternatives there are, you will learn in this informative article.
The microchip and how it works in rabbits
The microchip in the animal is a type of marking and serves to identify it without any doubt. Besides the chip, also called transponder, there are a number of other methods to fulfill this purpose:
- Ear tags
- Dog tags
The purpose of this individual identification varies, for example, it is used to prove ownership in case of theft or loss of the animal.
The chip contains a 15-digit identification number that is unique worldwide. Thus, the transponder functions as a kind of unmistakable “fingerprint” for the unique and secure assignment of the respective animal.
As an electronic means of automated identification, the microchip now represents the modern and long-awaited replacement for the outdated tattooing, a rather painful procedure that can only be performed under a risky and stressful general anesthesia. Another disadvantage of tattooing is the lack of uniform guidelines. For example, duplicate numbers can occur. In addition, the color fades over the years and thus becomes difficult to read.
What does such a microchip look like?
As a rule, the microchip is 11.1 to 13.9 mm long and 2.05 to 2.2 mm in diameter. However, there are also particularly small specimens, for example for koi in fish farming or small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
In the production of microchips, it is now the case that size is minimized and performance maximized from generation to generation. Each transponder is encased in a tissue-compatible capsule made of plastic or glass, which remains functional in the animal’s body for life.
The microchip is a so-called passive chip. This means that it does not send or receive any data on its own. Only when a reader is in the immediate vicinity (4-8 cm) of it is it stimulated by its electromagnetic waves to transmit data. These are converted in the reader, interpreted and then displayed in ISO standard on the screen.
It is information about the country of origin of the animal, the manufacturer of the chip and the actual individually assigned identification number.
How does the chip get into your rabbit?
It’s best to take your rabbit to the vet immediately after you get it and have the minor procedure done. Fortunately, the cuddly munchkin does not have to be put under anesthesia, which is always a great strain on his cardiovascular system. The microchip is injected under the skin with a sterile cannula near the left shoulder blade.
Some rabbit owners are afraid of the large diameter of the cannula and wait with the chipping until the castration, because the insertion of the transponder can be done when the animal is under general anesthesia and does not notice anything.
However, especially in the early days, the rabbit may still be fearful and the escape reflex may be strong, so there is a higher probability of escape especially during this period. If it is found, no identification can be made.
At the vet, chipping is a routine matter and is performed by trained professionals, so the injection is quick and almost painless.
The transponder remains in place, so it does not “wander” through the animal’s body. Likewise, it cannot be used as a tracker, but is used solely for identification. The insertion of a microchip in rabbits is not mandatory, but the voluntary decision of each owner.
Help, my rabbit is gone! What do I do now?
In order to have a contact point in case the worst case happens and your rabbit escapes, you should have registered with a responsible organization beforehand, otherwise chipping does not make much sense.
Your contact details, which you leave there, will be linked to the microchip code of your animal. Additional information about the animal (species, sex, date of birth) is also recorded in the directory.
This way, when you find your lost pet, you can quickly and unambiguously assign it to you, and you will be able to hold it in your arms again in the foreseeable future.
In the course of advancing digitalization, you also have the option of online processing if you wish to register. You can also easily change your address or delete your entry if your pet dies. In addition, the websites of the various organizations offer helpful tips and information on keeping and caring for all types of pets.
Other tips for escaped rabbits
When searching for your escaped rabbit, you certainly want to leave no stone unturned in finding it again.
The following tips may also prove helpful:
- Leave your contact information and chip number with as many veterinarians and local animal welfare organizations as possible, as that is where lost and found animals are often dropped off or reported.
- Unlike dogs and cats, the radius in which your rabbit can be found is not particularly large. Therefore, it is worthwhile to inform neighbors about the lost munchkin. The more people are on the lookout, the greater the chance of a happy reunion.
- Print out search messages on A4 sheets of paper and attach them to trees and street lamps in your vicinity. This way you will reach even more helpful people who will be happy to keep their eyes open especially for your cuddly fur bearer.
- In today’s digital world, social media plays an increasingly important role. Even when searching for your beloved pet, a post in a local group can be worth its weight in gold.
Are there alternatives to microchipping?
There is work being done to offer another option besides chipping via image recognition. The accuracy of this technology with animals is still lacking, but this type of identification specifically for runaway animals would be ideal.
Likewise, location data transmitted via GPS signal makes the hearts of many rabbit owners beat faster, but this is still a dream of the future.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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