What is a transponder?

A transponder is a tiny device of the size of a grain of rice that is injected under the skin of the pet. It contains the microchip with the animal’s identification number, the so called microchip number, the antenna for the communication and the glass to protect the electronics. These 3 components make a transponder. There are 2 official injection sites in the world which are described in ISO 15639-1, injection site companion animals. Several laws in the world depending on the region are referring to one of these sites. Your local Veterinarian knows the way.

What kind of information does the microchip of the transponder hold?

Transponders permanently identify the animal with a 15 digit worldwide unique microchip number. The microchip according to ISO 11784 does not contain any other information.

How can a microchip number be used to track my pet?

If your pet is found, it will be presented at a Veterinarian or a shelter which usually have a reader. Veterinarians or the pet rescue groups will scan your pet for the presence of a transponder. A search in the EPN database informs about the database and the country in which your animal is registered If the EPN search does not give a sufficient result, the stuff contacts actively the transponder manufacturers to get traceability information for the reunification of the found pet with its owner.

Which information do I need to provide to the database?

When your pet is microchipped, it is of essential need that you register your pet in a database, ideally in a database which is member of EPN as then your pet is as well safely registered travelling abroad. Your name, home address, phone numbers and email address are submitted. Your pet’s name, breed, sex, special markings or colouring will be registered as well. Some databases recommend the submission of a photograph.

It is very important to update this information directly if you move your home or if your phone number changes.

How much does the identification with a transponder and the registration of my pet cost?

Microchipping costs vary depending on where you live, the typical situation in your country as well as the particularities of your Veterinary. Some databases register for free, some databases will charge a fee for storing your contact information. This fee may be paid one time or as a “yearly membership.” Contact your local veterinarian and database for more details.

Is microchipping painful for my pet?

Microchipping is a quick and relatively painless procedure. Principally the transponder will be set without any anaesthesia, but in some cases your veterinarian may inject a little anaesthetic before injecting the transponder. The transponder is injected using a dedicated applicator. The discomfort involved is similar to that of vaccination. Transponders are often injectted at the same time as the spay or neuter surgery – while the pet is already under anaesthesia.

Are there different types of transponders?

Yes. The types are called ISO and non-ISO transponders. A transponder according to ISO needs to be conform to ISO 11784 and tested according to ISO 24631-1.The existing laws for official identification are referring to ISO 11784.

My pet has a non-ISO chip, which was implanted in Canada. Is this a problem? According to the EU regulation an imported animal needs to be identified by an ISO transponder or in case the transponder is not ISO, the pet owner needs to bring his own reader. There is no guarantee at customs for the availability of a multi reader. 

We are moving to Germany. Does my pet have the right transponder?

The EU law for travelling with a pet clearly stipulates that the animal needs to have the EU passport and the transponder identification. This transponder needs to be an ISO transponder. Your veterinarian will record the microchip number on your animal’s pet passport.

However, if you are bringing your pet from North America, be sure that an ISO transponder is placed or you need your own reader for the non-ISO technology. We recommend that before travelling you make control the functionality of the transponder of your pet.

My pet is lost and has a transponder. What can I do?

  1. Contact your database and report your pet as lost or stolen. Many databases will distribute a “lost pet” report to local animal control, rescue groups and veterinarians.
  2. Directly contact your local animal control, veterinarians and pet shelters with your pet’s information, recent photograph, and microchip number.
  3. If you think your pet has been stolen, contact your local police. You are also welcome to report such a case to EPN.

I don’t remember which database my pet’s transponder is registered in. How can I find out?

Type your pet’s microchip number into Europetnet’s ID search engine. It will inform you of the database company’s name and contact information.


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