Pet Identification and Microchipping
Microchipping Your Pet
Each year, millions of dogs and cats are lost; in fact, this disaster strikes 1/3 of all pet-owning families. Of the millions of cats and dogs that are lost, only 10% are ever identified and returned to their owners. More pets lives are lost because owners did not identify them, than from all infectious diseases combined.
All pets should wear traditional collars with identification and rabies vaccination tags. A traditional collar; however, is not enough. These collars are often worn loosely and are easily removed. Cat collars are designed to break off if the animal is caught in a tree branch. When the traditional collar is lost, removed, or breaks off, nothing is left to identify the pet . . . unless, of course, the pet has a microchip.
Microchips are rapidly becoming a very popular method for identifying pets. Once the microchip is inserted, the pet is identified for life. Microchips are safe, unalterable and permanent identification for pets.
The microchip is a tiny computer chip or transponder about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of a cat or dog, in much the same way that a vaccine is administered. The microchip is coded with a unique 10-digit code. Each microchip that is inserted contains a unique code, specific to the individual pet.
Microchip - Magnified
Inserting the microchip is simple and causes minimal or no discomfort. The microchip comes pre-loaded in a syringe, ready for insertion. The entire procedure takes less than 10 seconds. Post-injection reactions are very rare and the encapsulated microchip remains in place permanently.
Veterinarian Inserting a Microchip into Anesthetized Dog
Close up of Microchip Insertion
The scanner is a hand-held device used to detect the message encoded in the microchip. The scanner is passed over the animal, paying particular attention to the area between the shoulder blades. If a microchip is present, the 10-digit number (encoded in the capsule) is read by the scanner. Scanners are provided to animal control, humane shelters and other rescue organizations so that all stray pets are scanned and those with microchips are reunited with their owners. Veterinarians can also purchase scanners for use in their hospital.
Scanner for Detecting the Microchip
The veterinary hospital where the microchip is implanted records the pet's information and it's unique microchip identification number. When a lost pet is found and scanned, the veterinary hospital is immediately contacted. Since most veterinary hospitals are not open 24 hours a day, it may take some time before you are notified. In addition to this standard registration, you can register your pet in your own name for a charge of $15-20. By doing this, as soon as your pet is found, you are notified.
Veterinarian Scanning an Implanted Microchip
Along with the additional registration fee, we recommend that you update your personal information with the microchip database on a regular basis. It is also advisable to have your veterinarian test the microchip on an annual basis in order to make sure that it is properly transmitting data.