Microchipping for authorised implanters

Dog with mouth open, in grassed areaThe Domestic Animals Act 1994 and Domestic Animals Regulations 2015 restrict who can implant permanent identification devices (microchips) in Victoria.

It also places restrictions on what microchip can be used and how the procedure is carried out.

Victorian requirements for implanting a microchip

It is an offence to implant a microchip unless the:

  • person is an authorised implanter
  • microchip is a prescribed permanent identification device.

If the person is not an authorised veterinary implanter they must:

  • 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.

Authorised implanters

For the purposes of implanting a cat or dog, authorised implanters are:

  • registered veterinarians (includes registration in Victoria and other States or Territories) who have undertaken the department approved 'Australian Veterinary Association Victorian Microchip Implementation Course' or
  • persons with a qualification approved by the Secretary of the department who have successfully completed a course approved by the Secretary and who are employed by (or have a written agreement for supervision with) an authorised veterinary implanter.

Approved qualifications

Qualifications to implant microchips into dogs and cats approved by the Secretary of 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
  • National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing (Level 5) — New Zealand
  • Veterinary Nurse (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) United Kingdom.
  • Level 3: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons — National Vocational Qualification in Veterinary Nursing
  • Diploma in Animal Technology
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Veterinary Nursing

Approved courses

Courses to implant microchips into dogs and cats approved by the Secretary of 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'
  • The unit of competency ACMMIC401 'Implant microchip in cats and dogs'

Authorised microchip implanters for horses

Only registered Veterinarians who have undertaken the department approved Australian Veterinary Association Victorian Microchip Implementation Course can implant horses.

Extra rules for non-veterinary authorised implanters

If you are a non veterinary authorised implanter it is important that you have a current agreement in writing with a veterinarian.

You need to provide this written approval to the licensed Animal Registry Service provider to ensure our implanters database contains your current supervising veterinarian's details.

Requirements before implantation

Before microchip implantation:

  • The owner or agent must complete a signed application form containing the prescribed identifying information.
  • 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.

Definition of a scan

Scanning cats or dogs

In the case of a cat or dog, a scan is:

  • to pass a scanner over the skin of the animal at a distance of no greater than 50mm and speed no greater than 50cm per second
  • 2 sweeps between the head to the middle of the back and 2 sweeps over the shoulder from elbow to elbow.

Scanning horses

In the case of a horse, a scan is:

  • to pass a scanner over the skin of the horse by 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 if:

  • the microchip is in individual sterile packaging and it is first checked to ensure it is functioning properly
  • the unique identification number matches that on the paperwork provided with the chip.

If a microchip is found during the initial scan, another microchip must not be implanted unless certain conditions exist. See conditions provided under heading 'Cats and dogs with an existing microchip' below.

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 to 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 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. The veterinarian must advise the registry holding the records of the microchip that it has been removed.

Penalties for non-compliance

Implanters who fail to meet the legislative obligations may:

  • be subject to prosecution and penalty
  • have their status as an authorised implanter revoked.

Cats and dogs with an existing microchip

Before a cat, dog or horse can be implanted with a microchip, the authorised implanter must get 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 the scan this is the procedure that 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
  • 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 — the registry is required to contact the original owner to 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. Registries or implanters are not responsible for resolving these issues.

What are the changes to the Prescribed Identifying Information for dogs and cats?

From 1 July 2020, a dog or cat breeder’s Pet Exchange Register source number, or the source number of the council pound, animal shelter, pet shop or foster carer that owns the animal — will be required when implanting a new microchip into a dog or cat born after that date.

The source number will form part of a cat or dogs’ prescribed identifying information. An authorised implanter must collect and include a source number as part of the microchip registration form for dogs and cats born after 1 July 2020.

A failure to do so may incur penalties under the Domestic Animals Regulations 2015.

Owner details on a microchip record may change over time, but the recorded source number will remain the same for the life of the animal.

What is a source number?

A source number:

  • identifies an individual, rescue organisation, breeder, business or organisation
  • is generated once an individual enrols on the PER
  • is automatically allocated to domestic animal businesses (DAB) and foster carers following registration with council.

What microchipping requirements apply to dog and cat breeders?

From 1 July 2020, all breeders will be required to have a source number from the Pet Exchange Register (PER), regardless of whether the breeder intends to advertise dogs and cats.

From 1 July 2020, a breeder’s source number will be required as part of the prescribed information when implanting a new microchip into a dog or cat born after that date.

What if an authorised microchip implanter is presented with an animal that does not have a source number from the Pet Exchange Register?

A source number must be included on microchip registration forms for dogs or cats born after 1 July 2020.

If an animal is presented and the person presenting the animal does not have a source number, we recommend advising the person to apply for one online via the Pet Exchange Register during the consultation. A source number is generated after a simple registration process.

An authorised implanter must collect and include a source number on dog or cat microchip records in order to ensure compliance with regulation requirements. A failure to do so may incur penalties.

What if I don’t include a valid source number in the microchip information?

An authorised implanter must collect and include a source number as part of the microchip registration form for dogs and cats born after 1 July 2020. A failure to do so may incur penalties under the Domestic Animals Regulations 2015.

The validity of a source number can be checked on the Pet Exchange Register. This will display the source number and council for each source number type. If the source number belongs to either a recreational breeder or DAB, additional information on membership number and/or DAB registration number will also be displayed.

Invalid source numbers can be reported to Animal Welfare Victoria .

What if the animal is born outside of Victoria and doesn’t have a source number?

If a dog or cat is born outside of Victoria and is being microchipped in Victoria, a source number must be included in its microchip information.

If an animal is presented and the person presenting the animal does not have a source number, we recommend advising the person to apply for one online via the Pet Exchange Register during the consultation. A source number is generated after a simple registration process.

Are there any changes to who can implant microchips into cats and dogs?

There are no changes. The approved qualifications and courses are outlined on the microchipping information for authorised implanters webpage.

How do I include a source number as part of an animal’s prescribed identifying information?

Microchip registries have updated their microchip registration forms and electronic data collection to ensure all prescribed identifying information, including source number, can be collected from 1 July 2020.

Whose source number is needed to microchip an impounded dog or cat?

Before the dog or cat is returned to its owner it must be microchipped.

If breeder details are unknown, Community Foster Care Networks, shelters and pounds will need to use their own source number when microchipping an animal in their care.

The resident can add their details to the microchip once the animal is reclaimed, however the council pound’s source number will remain on the microchip details.

Axxxx numbers

An Axxxx number is issued by a licensed Animal Registry Service from the implanters database (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 6 licensed Animal Registry Service providers.

Benefits for authorised implanters

Having an Axxxx assists authorised implanters to meet the requirement of regulation 12(a)(xi) of the Domestic Animals Regulations 2015.

It saves the authorised implanter's time by not having to provide their full name and business address on each microchip registration form. It also means that the 6 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, you are in breach of section 63G 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 to apply for an Axxxx number

You need to make an application through 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.

Authorised implanters without a unique Axxxx number

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.

Page last updated: 24 Nov 2020