Updated: Apr 20
May is Micro-chip your pet month!
Microchipping our pets has been a large part of pet identification and has dramatically increased the chances that we can reunite lost pets with their owns. While it has become largely popular, there is still some misunderstanding and confusion when it comes to microchips.
Microchips are small, rice sized, devices that are loaded with a number. Accessing the number is done by scanning the chip with a special scanner. Veterinary offices and animal shelters carry these scanners in their facilities. The number on the chip, provided by the manufacturer, is associated with the owner and pet’s information.
Some people share the common misconception that a microchip is much like a GPS tracker and can be used to locate a lost pet that way. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but the use of microchips is still a very successful way of making sure you are reconnected with your lost pet. When a found pet is brought into the veterinary office or animal shelter the chip is entered into a microchip lookup system, the most common one used is supplied to us by AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association). Specific beginning digits inform us what company the chip is registered with, i.e.: Home Again, 24 hour PetWatch, etc. The company will contact the owner provided the information on the chip is accurate and up to date.
If your pet was chipped at your veterinarian’s office or came with the chip already from adoption you can contact the company at any time to update your contact information and your pet’s information. If you are unsure of your pet’s identification number, you may bring the pet to your veterinary office to have them scan the chip. Most microchip companies require a one-time registration fee. Other companies will recommend paying a yearly fee which allows you access to other resources. One of the resources included with the yearly fee through Home Again is free calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which usually charges around $65 for a consultation.
The process for placing the chip is very simple. The chip is placed using a larger gage needle and placed between the shoulder blades, movement from the site is very uncommon for more than- just a centimeter of shifting. Other than some slight soreness in the injection area, the process is very easy, and safe. For younger puppies and kittens, owners may choose to wait until the time of the spay or neuter to get the chip since the needle is slightly larger than a normal vaccination needle. But overall, having the chip placed can be done at any routine visit and is inexpensive. For more information on microchips, you can communicate with your veterinarian or veterinary staff at any time.