I have been reading with interest the arguments for and against regular scanning. At the moment this is particularly aimed at dogs, thanks to this: Compulsory chipping of dogs from 2016.
This topic has gained momentum through various high profile lost/stolen dog stories and, currently, social media is awash with lost/stolen dog groups and pages where you can post information to be shared.
Much of this has stemmed from Sir Bruce Forsyth’s Vets Get Scanning appeal, through which campaign co-founder Debbie Matthews (Brucey’s daughter) has been trying to get a standardised approach to scanning in practice.
Before everyone starts wringing their hands and muttering… as a RVN I realise that scanning EVERY dog EVERY time is not realistic. However we do need to realise scanning for chips and checking if they are working is as important a factor on a client database as a registered address to chase a debt to.
So, when to scan, and how to approach this with your clients? A recent correspondent in the letters page of Veterinary Times admitted clients had looked at him oddly as he scanned their pets.
From my experience of being an obsessive scanner, I would advise to scan:
- all new pets – regardless of age or previous client experience.
- for regular clients – annually at booster
- for irregular clients – when pet presented
That way we aren’t scanning every animal, every time. However we are covering the bases of likely presentations of new pets, or existing pets that could have had a chip malfunction/movement.
I have often seen in practice pets brought in as “stray” that are only identifiable through a chip. Yet if your database does not hold the chip number you cannot search for it – which is quicker than calling the chip databases.
As for how to approach the clients – if you explain you are making sure that all details are up to date and ensure the owner can get their pet back, few owners will resist.