Microchipping information for authorised implanters
The Domestic Animals Act 1994 and Domestic Animals Regulations 2015 restrict who can implant permanent identification devices (microchips) in Victoria, and place restrictions on what devices can be used and how the procedure is carried out.
Requirements for implanting a permanent identification device (microchip) in Victoria
It is an offence to implant a permanent identification device unless:
- The person is an authorised implanter, and
- If the person is not a veterinarian they must also:
- be acting under the supervision of and be employed by a veterinarian (who is an authorised implanter), or
- acting under supervision of a veterinarian (who is an authorised implanter) who has agreed in writing to supervise that person, and
- The device is a prescribed permanent identification device.
Who is an authorised implanter for the purposes of implanting a cat or dog?
For the purposes of implanting a cat or dog, authorised implanters are:
Registered Veterinarians (including Victorian registration or veterinarians who are registered in other States or Territories) who have undertaken the department approved "Australian Veterinary Association Victorian Microchip Implementation Course".
Persons with a qualification approved by the Secretary of the department, and
- Who have successfully completed a course approved by the Secretary
- Who are employed by, or have a written agreement for supervision with, a veterinarian.
What are the approved qualifications to implant permanent identification devices into dogs and cats?
Qualifications approved by the Secretary to the department are:
- Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Nursing
- Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing
- Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
- Certificate III in Local Government (Animal Management)
- Certificate IV in Animal Welfare (Regulation)
- Certificate III in Animal Technology
- Level 3: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons – National Vocational Qualification in Veterinary Nursing
- National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing (Level 5) – New Zealand
- Veterinary Nurse (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) United Kingdom.
What are the approved courses to implant permanent identification devices into dogs and cats?
Courses approved by the Secretary to the department are:
- Course in Microchip Implantation of Cats and Dogs (Course Number 21955Vic).
- The unit of competency ACMMIC401A 'Implant microchip in cats and dogs'.
Who is an authorised implanter for the purposes of implanting a horse?
Only registered Veterinarians (Victorian registration) who have undertaken the department approved Australian Veterinary Association Victorian Microchip Implementation Course can implant horses.
What extra rules apply to non veterinary authorised implanters?
Non veterinary authorised implanters are required to be acting under the supervision and be employed by a veterinarian (who is an authorised implanter); OR is an implanter acting under supervision of a veterinarian (who is an authorised implanter) who has agreed in writing to supervise you to implant microchips.
Therefore, it is important that if you are a non veterinary authorised implanter that you have a current agreement in writing with a veterinarian and this written approval is provided to the licensed Animal Registry Service provider to ensure the department's implanters database contains your most current supervising veterinarian's details.
Other requirements for implanters
What is required prior to implantation?
Prior to implantation:
- The owner or agent must complete a signed application form containing the prescribed identifying information (refer to the pets information page for details);
- Owners must be advised of any services for which the registry charges fees other than the fee for whole of life registration;
- Animal must be scanned to confirm it is not already microchipped.
What is the definition of scan?
In the case of a cat or dog: to pass a scanner over the skin of the animal:
- at a distance of no greater than 50mm & speed no greater than 50cm per second, and
- 2 sweeps between the head to the middle of the back and 2 sweeps over the shoulder from elbow to elbow.
In the case of a horse: to pass a scanner over the skin of the horse by including two sweeps close to the skin along each side of the full length of the neck, along the nuchal ligament, with a reader that the person has confirmed is functioning correctly.
If the animal has not already been implanted the implantation procedure can proceed providing the microchip is in individual sterile packaging, and it is first checked to ensure it is functioning properly and unique identification number matches that on the paperwork provided with the chip.
If a microchip is found during the initial scan another chip must NOT be implanted unless certain conditions exist (see below regarding the procedure for dogs and cats with an existing microchip).
What are the requirements for implantation?
Dogs or cats: Microchip is to be subcutaneously implanted in the dorsal midline between the scapulae with the chip lying at 30-45 degree angle to the longitudinal axis of the animal.
Horses: Implant the device into the nuchal ligament on the left side of the neck, midway between the poll and the wither.
The animal (cat, dog or horse) must be scanned immediately after implantation to ensure the device is functioning properly.
Implanters have 2 days to send information to a licensed registry and must keep a copy of the information until they are sure it has been placed on the registry.
Microchips may only be removed by a registered veterinarian for therapeutic reasons and the veterinarian must take reasonable steps to advise the registry holding the records for the microchip of its removal.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Implanters who fail to meet the legislative obligations may be subject to prosecution and penalty and additionally may have their status as an authorised implanter revoked.
What is the procedure for cats and dogs with an existing microchip?
Before a cat, dog or horse can be implanted with a microchip, the authorised implanter must obtain all the prescribed identifying information from the person presenting the animal for implantation.
The authorised implanter must also scan the animal before a microchip can be implanted. If an existing microchip is identified from this scan the following procedure must be followed.
Another microchip must not be implanted unless:
- the animal is being exported to another country with different microchip technology requirements for that country
- the identification number does not uniquely identify the animal
- the implanted microchip is no longer working properly
- the microchip has migrated outside of the scanning region (as specified for each species of animal in the scanning definition of the Regulations).
If the detected microchip is functioning correctly and does not meet any of the above conditions then:
- a second microchip must NOT be implanted, and
- the implanter must notify the licensed registry holding the information on the implanted microchip and provide them with the name, address and telephone number of the person presenting the animal for implantation (if this is known, as the prescribed identifying information is to be collected before the procedure is started so this information should be available).
Once the implanter has notified the registry holding the information of the implanted microchip, the registry is required to contact the original owner and provide them with the presenting person's name and telephone number or seek their approval to change the ownership details. Disputes over animal ownership are civil matters or possibly police matters and registries or implanters are not responsible for resolving such issues.
What extra rules apply to non-veterinary authorised implanters?
Non veterinary authorised implanters are required to be acting under the supervision and be employed by a veterinarian (who is an authorised implanter), OR is an implanter acting under supervision of a veterinarian (who is an authorised implanter) who has agreed in writing to supervise you to implant microchips.
Therefore, it is important that if you are a non veterinary authorised implanter that you have a current agreement in writing with a veterinarian and this written approval is provided to the licensed Animal Registry Service provider to ensure the Department's implanters database contains your most current supervising veterinarian's details.
What is an Axxxx number?
An Axxxx number is issued by a licensed Animal Registry Service from the implanters database which is a database administered by the department. The Axxxx number is issued to appropriately qualified authorised implanters upon application to a licensed Animal Registry Service provider. Implanters can use the Axxxx number when completing the prescribed identifying information on a microchip registration form to be sent to one of the seven licensed Animal Registry Service providers.
What benefit do authorised implanters have if they are issued with a unique Axxxx number?
Having an Axxxx assists authorised implanters to meet the requirement of regulation 12(a)(xi) of the Domestic Animals Regulations 2015, by saving the authorised implanter's time by not having to provide their full name and business address on each microchip registration form and also means that all the seven licensed Animal Registry Service providers in Victoria have a central database of all authorised implanters.
Under regulation 12 of the Domestic Animals Regulations 2015, the name and business address of the person who implanted the permanent identification device needs to be provided on the microchip registration form to the licensed Animal Registry Service provider. If you are issued with an Axxxx number you can enter your Axxxx number rather than completing the full record of your name and business address on the microchip registration form.
It is important that your details on the Department's implanters database are kept up to date. If this information is not kept up to date and you are using your Axxxx number with outdated information, then you are in breach of section 63I of the Domestic Animals Act 1994, as you are not providing the current prescribed identifying information in relation to the implanter information for the purpose of registering a microchip.
How do I apply for an Axxxx number?
You will need to make an application via one of the Victorian licensed Animal Registry Service providers (preferably the registry you deal with regularly). The registry will ask you to complete an application form and provide supporting qualification evidence before they will issue you with your unique Axxxx number.
What if I do not have a unique Axxxx number, am I able to implant microchips in cats and dogs in Victoria?
As an authorised implanter you do not need to be recorded on the department's implanters database with an Axxxx to be able to microchip cats and dogs.