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Tattoos and Microchips

Tattoos & Microchips:


While under general anesthetic for their spay or neuter, we include a complimentary tattoo in the right ear for identification purposes. This is a combination of 3 letters that identify the year the surgery was performed and the specific vet clinic, followed by 3 numbers unique to your animal.

Example:  JHT 250     (J indicates the year 2021; HT identifies Hilltop Veterinary Clinic; and this was the 250th animal sterilized this year)


  • Tattoos are nice because they are a permanent marking easily identified by anyone in the province who finds your lost pet. All they have to do is look in the animal's ear and read the tattoo. They can then phone our clinic, we can trace the tattoo number in our records, and help reunite you with your lost pet. Please keep in mind that if you move, change phone numbers, or transfer ownership of your pet you will need to phone the clinic to update this information. It's very sad when we find a lost pet but can't reunite them with their family because a phone number is no longer in service. 
  • Free of charge with any spay or neuter.


  • Require general anesthetic because just like with human tattoos, it can be uncomfortable. 
  • Only applicable in Canada. 
  • Only traceable during clinic hours. Because the tattoo is recorded only in our medical record system, they can only be traced during business hours when our staff are in the clinic and have access to our medical records. 
  • Some tattoos may fade or become hard to read with time. 


Microchips are an alternative identification method to tattoos. The microchip is the size of a grain of rice and inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. This can easily be done with the animal awake. The microchip has a 15 digit number unique to your pet. When your lost pet shows up at a veterinary clinic, animal shelter, or the pound they can scan for a microchip. This number can be used to contact the microchip company where the chip is registered and the reuniting process can begin.  Similar to tattoos, keep in mind that if you move or change your contact information you will need to update this through the microchip company. 


  • These can be traced across Canada as well as internationally. 
  • Implanted with animal fully awake - quick poke of a needle and it's done!
  • Can be traced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Permanent and definitive - no trying to guess what the identifying number is unlike tattoos that can fade or become hard to read. 

All of our chips are registered through 24 hour pet watch:


  • Initial cost for the microchip and implanting. Generally less than $50. 
  • Fees for additional protection through the microchip company (optional). 
  • Some companies charge a small fee to change or update contact info. 
  • Require scanning with a microchip reader to identify and trace - must be taken to a vet clinic, animal shelter, or pound to have scanned. 

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