Since the first patents covering Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) were made, there has been an unprecedented increase with thousands of tags used in animal identification and tracking. Even, there are many countries that have made it mandatory to tag their domestic animals. In New Zealand, it’s obligatory to tag your pets, especially dogs except the farm dogs. The RFID pathfinder Group of New Zealand promotes the adoption of Electronic Product Codes (EPC), indicating the commencement of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags.
These tags are basically efficient and cost-effective for tracking animals as compared to the conventional Low Frequency (LF) tags. UHF tags have faster speed, reliability and accuracy, especially, while tracking cattle, deer or cattle. The tags have been mandated by the National Animal identification and Tracing (NAIT) project that was initiated by the government for improving livestock traceability.
The RFID tags or microchips carry the pet’s as well as owner’s details. This information is helpful in the cases if your pets become ill or are missing. The microchip is very small-sized, about the size of a rice grain. It is infused into the scuff of the neck of your pet via syringe, and takes very less time to administer. These microchips are becoming a common thing for tracking dogs and cats, but you can even use them with rabbits, horses and guinea pigs. Many RFID tags used today run in 124.2-135 KHz range of frequency. As a result, they have a limited range; less than 30 feet. Most of them operate from 112-128 bits as per the technology used.
As per ISO, the unique identification number of the tags is reserved to give the country code. These tiny tags can be inserted beneath the skin or on the ear along with the other visible tags for animal tracking and identification. Each dog registered in New Zealand for the first time since July 1st 2006 is required to be micro chipped. They must also be registered by law by the age of 3 months (except farm dogs). A long-term study of the effects of microchip implantation in the dogs has stated that these RFID tags offer minimal tissue reaction and good biocompatibility.
One thing that has to be kept in mind is that the RFID tags must be properly implanted in animals because their improper insertion may lead to severe problems. There are few cases reported: The forceful implantation of a microchip placement in the spinal canal of a 2-year old cat had resulted in weakness of limbs as well as tachypnea (increased rate of breathing). Also, the inappropriate insertion of the microchip in small puppies had resulted in an acute-onset tetraparesis. Thus, appropriate handling of RFID tags with your pets is quite important.