CVMA | Documents | Microchip Animal Identification – Position Statement

Microchip Animal Identification – Position Statement

November 30, 2014


The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports the permanent identification of animals, and recommends the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) products (microchips, transponders) that conform to the International Standards Organization (ISO) standard of technology (1). The CVMA recommends veterinarians use RFID products that have been successfully reviewed by the National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC) and appear on the NCAC list of recognized products (2).

The microchip type, implantation technique, and chip registration can affect microchip performance and animal identification/reunification. As such, the CVMA holds that the implantation and registration of microchips only be carried out by veterinarians or under the supervision of a veterinarian.


  1. RFID transponders/microchips currently in use can only store limited information (i.e., a unique identification number). The use of RFID products must be complemented by a reliable and available database which links the RFID number to the owner and provides details on the animal carrying the transponder. The information in this database must be kept up-to-date, accessible, and secured in case of business interruption (e.g., bankruptcy). It is incumbent upon owners to update microchip registration information as needed.
  2. The CVMA recommends veterinarians reference the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) guidelines for species-specific RFID implantation sites (3). The CVMA also endorses the movement towards an international database that allows for ease of registration, data updating and retrieval, and support to maximize successful animal recovery.
  3. The CVMA recommends that all RFID-implanted animals be scanned annually to ensure proper function and location of the device.
  4. The reader is referred to the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association for background on animal microchip types, global standardization information, and other detailed information and references in the study and evaluation of RFIDs (4-6).
  5. Owners of animals with implanted microchips need to be aware that there are 3 frequencies of RFIDs in the marketplace and not all detection scanners are 100% effective in detecting all microchips. In the case of a lost animal one must not assume that the microchip will necessarily be identified by other parties using an RFID scanner. The CVMA recommends that all lost animal search procedures be considered.
  6. The CVMA encourages animal owners to discuss the benefits and risks associated with RFID implantation with their veterinarian (7,8).
  7. Microchip implant and microchip embedded tags used for livestock identification in Canada ensure efficient animal tracing and response to animal health and food safety issues that might arise.


  1. International Organization for Standardization: ISO 11784 and 11785; Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  2. National Companion Animal Coalition Recognized List – NCAC website: Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  3. World Small Animal Veterinary Association: “Microchip Identification Guidelines” [page on Internet]. Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  4. American Veterinary Medical Association Microchipping of Animals published July 30, 2013 [page on Internet]. Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  5. American Animal Hospital Association [page on Internet]. Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  6. American Animal Hospital Association Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool [page on Internet]. Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  7. United Kingdom Veterinary Medicines Directorate Microchip Adverse Event Reporting Scheme. Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.
  8. AVMA Microchipping of Animals FAQs. Available from: Last accessed April 13, 2015.

(Revised November 2014)