Should I Get My Rabbit Microchipped?

Have you ever worried about your adventurous rabbit one day finding an exit and going on a solo hopping adventure? Indoor pet rabbits are natural born escape artists and can be extremely tricky to contain. Even carefully enclosed outdoor hutches sometimes get outsmarted by clever rabbits on the run. So what’s a bunny owner to do? Microchips provide the perfect solution! With just a quick and painless implant, microchips give our rabbits permanent identification that can be read by any vet or shelter if your Houdini bunny makes a sneaky escape. Read on to learn how these tiny implants work and why every bunny owner should consider microchipping their pet. We’ll give you all the reasons to chip, when to schedule it, and what to expect so you can give your trickster rabbit backup identification – just in case!

Can You Microchip Rabbits?

Yes, you can microchip rabbits just like dogs and cats. Pet microchipping has become very popular in recent years as a way to identify lost pets. A microchip is a small RFID (radio frequency identification) transponder that is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The microchip contains a unique identification number that can be read by a scanner. If the rabbit gets lost and ends up at a vet clinic or shelter, they can scan the microchip to get the owner's contact information and reunite the rabbit with its family. Microchipping rabbits provides permanent ID that cannot fall off or be removed like a collar or tag can.

Do Microchips Work?

Microchip implants are a highly effective way to identify lost pets. A study by the American Humane Society found that microchipped pets had a much higher return-to-owner rate than unchipped pets. 93% of dogs with microchips that entered shelters were returned to their owners, compared to just 52% return-to-owner rate for dogs without chips. For cats, the return-to-owner rate was 38% for chipped cats versus just 2% for unchipped cats. Similar improved return rates would be expected for pet rabbits. The main reasons microchips improve return rates are:

  • Permanently identifies pet if tags or collar are lost. The chip stays with the pet for life.

  • Chips contain owner contact info so shelters/vets can call the owner right away if a lost pet is scanned.

  • Registration with microchip company provides backup contact info if owner moves or changes phone.

  • Universal scanners can read all major brands of microchip, so any clinic can scan and identify pet.

So in summary, yes microchip implants are an extremely effective way to improve chances of finding lost rabbits and being reunited with owners. The national return-to-owner rate is over 90% for microchipped dogs and about 40% for microchipped cats, versus just over 50% and 2% for unchipped dogs and cats. Based on this data, microchips clearly work and greatly improve odds of finding lost pets.

How Does Microchipping Rabbits Work?

Microchipping a rabbit is a simple, quick procedure, very similar to microchipping a dog or cat. Here is an overview of how microchip implantation works:

  • A small microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the rabbit's skin with a needle. The best location is between the shoulder blades where there is minimal risk of migration.

  • The microchip is coated in a bio-compatible glass casing and contains a unique ID number. It uses RFID technology and contains no battery or GPS, so it will last for the rabbit's lifetime.

  • To implant the chip, the vet or technician will first scan for a current chip, shave a small area of fur, disinfect the site, then inject the chip underneath the skin using a specialized implanter needle.

  • The process takes just a few seconds and is no more painful for the rabbit than a routine vaccination shot. No anesthesia or sutures are required.

  • Once implanted, the chip stays in place and does not cause any discomfort. It can be detected by passing a microchip scanner over the area which reads the ID by radio frequency.

  • The microchip ID number is registered with a database connected to the owner's contact information. All major chip brands work with universal scanners found at vets and shelters.

So in a nutshell, microchip implantation is quick and easy, lasting just a few seconds to inject the tiny chip under the rabbit's skin, where it permanently provides identification if the rabbit is lost or separated from the owner.

Reasons To Microchip Your Rabbit

Increases Chances of Finding a Lost Rabbit

One of the biggest benefits of microchipping a rabbit is it greatly improves the chances your lost bunny will be returned to you. Rabbits can be very sneaky escape artists. Even careful owners can have indoor rabbits dart out doors or have fenced outdoor rabbits dig under barriers. Without ID, escaped rabbits often cannot be identified or returned if found. A microchip gives lost rabbits permanent identification that any shelter or vet can scan and read to contact you, 24/7. Statistics show microchipped pets have around a 90% return-to-owner rate versus just over 50% for unchipped pets. So if your bunny ever goes on a solo adventure, a microchip could be his ticket home.

Quick Procedure

Microchip implantation only takes a few seconds to inject the tiny chip under your rabbit's skin. No anesthesia or stitches are required, so it is faster and easier than spay or neuter surgery. The microchip is injected with a specialized syringe and once done, the rabbit can go home with no recovery needed. So microchipping takes just a brief visit to inject permanent ID that could help reunite you and your bunny.

Painless Procedure

The microchip needle is extremely small and insertion only takes a split second. The rabbit will feel it no more than a routine vaccination shot. Once implanted, the chip requires no care and causes no pain or discomfort. Compare this to awkward, strangling collars that must be worn daily. Microchips provide identification that is permanent and pain-free for your pet. Just a tiny prick on implant provides ID that lasts a lifetime.

Peace of Mind

Losing a beloved pet is one of the most stressful experiences for any owner. Pets go missing despite our best efforts. With an escaped rabbit, owners face the agony of wondering what happened and hoping bunny is safe. Microchips take away that uncertainty. A registered microchip means owners have the comfort of knowing any shelter or vet can identify and contact you immediately 24/7 if your lost pet is found. Instead of worrying and searching, you can have confidence you will be promptly called if your microchipped bunny turns up at a clinic or shelter.

Does My Rabbit Need a Microchip?

While microchipping provides major benefits, is it necessary for every rabbit? Here are some factors to help decide if your bunny should get chipped.

Outdoor Rabbits

Rabbits living primarily outdoors in hutches or fenced areas are at risk if they escape or a predator breaches. A microchip is highly recommended as a backup in case your outdoor bunny gets lost or separated from your property. Even careful owners can have escape incidents. Microchip ID ensures your outdoor rabbit has permanent identification to get home safe if something happens.

Rabbits That Spend a Long Time Outdoors

Even primarily indoor rabbits that spend hours in secure outdoor pens should consider microchipping. Accidents like an open gate or digging under the pen can happen if bunnies are outdoors for extended periods daily. Microchip ID provides an added layer of protection if your well-supervised indoor bun has an escape outside your watch.

Indoor Rabbits With Access To Exits

Smart indoor rabbits figure out how to open doors or windows or dart through small openings we don't notice. If your free-roam bunny has any access to potential exits like doggie doors, open windows, or jimmied screen doors, a microchip provides backup identification if the clever Houdini makes a break for it. Even careful owners can get surprised by a stealthy escape now and then.

If You Take Your Rabbits for Walks

Rabbits that go for walks on leashes and harnesses should be microchipped. Even supervised walks come with escape risks from broken harness clips, slipping out of poorly fitted harnesses, bolting into bushes, or getting scared and pulling away. If your walking bun does get loose, you want him to have ID to get home safe if he can't be quickly caught.

Is Microchipping Harmful?

Microchip implants have an excellent safety record in pets when done properly by a qualified vet. However, there are a couple very rare risks to be aware of:

A Microchip That Has Moved

It's uncommon but possible for a microchip to migrate away from the implant site. Estimates are this occurs in less than 1% of pets. Signs include inability to detect chip or intermittent scanning results. If migration is suspected, your vet can scan the rabbit's entire body and if needed reposition the chip. So while very rare, owners should monitor that chip can consistently be read at least annually.

Who Can Microchip Rabbits?

Microchip implantation should be performed by an experienced veterinarian or vet tech. Many vets offer microchipping services and special 'chip clinics' for very affordable rates. Shelters or humane societies that do spay/neuter clinics may also provide microchipping. Make sure whoever injects the chip scanner reads it right away to confirm proper function and registration. Only authorized veterinary professionals should inject microchips to ensure proper placement and registration. It's not something owners should try to implant themselves.

How Much Does It Cost To Microchip a Rabbit?

The microchip itself is relatively inexpensive, usually $10-$20. Veterinarians will charge an additional fee for the implantation procedure, typically $25-$50. Some clinics offer special package deals and reduced rates for chip implants, so shop around for the best price. There are also low cost microchip clinics hosted by humane societies and shelters, sometimes with chips as low as $10-15 including implantation. So have your vet scan for a chip first, but know affordable microchipping can cost $35-$70 for permanent peace of mind.

Microchipping Fees with Rabbit Shelters

Many rabbit rescues and sanctuaries offer microchipping services themselves or host clinics. Because shelters have access to chips at wholesale rates, this can be the most affordable microchipping option. For example, Colorado House Rabbit Society charges just $25 for microchips including implantation for shelter rabbits. Some shelters include microchips for free with rabbit adoptions. Contact local rabbit rescues to check for any deals on discounted or free microchips available through shelter programs.

When Should I Microchip My Rabbit?

The ideal time to microchip a pet rabbit is when having your new bunny spayed or neutered. That way the rabbit is already under anesthesia so the microchip implantation will not cause any pain or stress. If your rabbit is already spayed/neutered, any time is fine to come in and add a microchip ID. We suggest chipping rabbits as young as 8 weeks old before their escapist tendencies kick in! Have the microchip implanted and registered well before any opportunities for your clever Houdini to sneak off on an adventure.

How To Tell If a Rabbit Is Microchipped

To check if a rabbit already has a microchip, any veterinarian can quickly scan the bunny using a universal microchip scanner. Run the scanner slowly over the neck/shoulders where most chips are implanted and it will detect and read any existing chip. Shelters always scan for microchips when intake a stray rabbit to see if a match comes up. You can also buy home microchip scanners for about $25 that will let you verify if your rabbit is chipped. So it only takes a quick scan to tell if a rabbit has been microchipped and check if the chip ID registry has up to date owner information.

Conclusion

Microchipping is a simple, affordable way to provide permanent identification for your bunny in case the clever Houdini ever makes a daring escape. While no ID is 100% foolproof against determined escape artists, microchips greatly improve the likelihood a lost rabbit will be reunited with their owner. For just a quick painless implant, microchips provide peace of mind if your indoor or outdoor bunny slips their harness or pen to go on a solo hopping adventure. Be sure to keep your microchip registry contact information up to date. With a microchip, a rabbit friend can always hop home again.

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