Microchips are a great way to help keep your pet safe. They are a safe an easy way to help identify your pet and can help if your furry family member ever gets loose.
Sometimes referred to as an RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) chip, they are implanted under the skin, around the shoulder blade area. When a RFID scanner is passed over the implant area, it detects the chip, which sends an identification number to the scanner. The identification number is unique to the chip, therefore unique to the animal.
Although the chip is slightly larger than a grain of rice, in order to implant the microchip under the skin, a large gauge needle must be used. Implanting the microchip at this time can be more comfortable for the animal as they are under anesthetic.
In the past, tattoos were used to help identify animals from one another. The tattoo was placed in the groin area or on the inner pinna (ear flap). The down side to this way of identification is that the information is not widely accessible. Also, as the animal grows or if he/she starts getting a little chubby, the tattoo can become altered and hard to decipher.
Hundreds of pets go missing every year. Sometimes when they are found they are brought into local veterinary clinics. All veterinary hospitals have microchip scanners. Once a stray animal is brought into the clinic, they are scanned for a microchip. If a chip is found, we can check our computer system to see if the cat/dog is a patient of ours. If not, then we can call the microchip company to help find the owner.
Of course the microchip company’s database is only useful if all the information provided is correct. This is one of the most important parts of getting your pet microchipped. For instance, if owners move, they often forget to change pertinent information with the microchip company. If an address, or more important, the phone number the microchip company has on file is incorrect; it will become harder for owners to be reunited with their furry loved ones. Another instance is if you have obtained your pet from a breeder. Sometimes breeders will implant microchips as well, and chances are the information the microchip company has is theirs. This means that when scanned and called into the company, the only information that is recorded is the breeder. Another common scenario is if adopt a pet that already has a microchip. Whether it be from a shelter or from another person, it is very important to make sure the company is called and the information on file is changed to yours. These instances can make reuniting you and your pet, take longer.
Microchipping is a safe and effective way to help identify your beloved pet and get them home faster if they ever go astray.
By Sarah C