Before You Start the Microchip Implant
- Scan the animal for prior chipping.
- Scan the new microchip you will be implanting to verify the microchip number.
The Microchip Injection Site
When it comes to where do you inject a microchip, follow these steps:
- Locate the shoulder blades (scapulae bones) on the back.
- Locate the midpoint between the shoulder blades: If you gently massage downwards towards the spine area, you will feel a slightly rounded strap of muscle that runs left to right between the shoulder blades. This is called the trapezius muscle. You do not have to put the chip into the muscle. This is simply for location purposes.
- If you draw a line from one shoulder blade to another, your injection site on the dog or cat’s back would fall just below this line. When the needle enters the skin, it is aimed forward and down with the needle pointing toward the animal’s head. This is the typical injection site used by veterinarians.
You can microchip puppies or kittens as early as five to eight weeks of age. On any age dog or cat, the chip should be deposited deep into the subcutaneous tissue. The chip will secure itself into place within a week or so, and you should have no problem with movement. If you do experience migration of any kind, this means the chip was injected too shallowly, so make sure you go deep under the skin.
You may feel a small lump after implantation, similar to what may occur after a vaccine. However, this will subside and then you should not be able to detect the chip with your fingers. If you can feel the chip after a couple of weeks, this is another sign that you have not implanted it deeply enough.
How is a Microchip Injected
- Prepare the site for an injection by wiping with alcohol. To prevent stinging, allow thirty seconds for alcohol to dry.
- Form a “tent” of skin by pulling the skin tissue upwards above the injection site.
- Insert the needle at the base of the “tent”. Make sure the sloped part of the needle, which is called the bevel, is facing up. Enter at a 45 degree angle (approximately) from the surface of the back.
- Enter needle fully, until the hub comes into contact with the skin. For small animals: Depending on the breed, it may not be necessary to insert the needle this far, but you must get the entire bevel into the pup or kitten.
- Slowly depress syringe plunger. Do not begin to withdraw the syringe until the plunger is totally depressed, allowing the plunger rod to clear the chip from the needle.
- Apply pressure to the injection site using your thumb or finger as you withdraw the needle. Gently massage the area close to the injection site.
- Scan the implanted microchip and record the microchip number on the pet’s health record.
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Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.