This month veterinary hospitals across the country advocate for microchipping of all pets.
Here are some common questions and answers regarding microchips and why they are important to you and your pets.
Why is microchipping your pet so important?
The biggest argument for microchipping all of your pets is for lost pet recovery. The fear of having a lost dog is one many pet owners are all too aware of and anxious to never repeat. Microchips are one tool that can help with the recovery of your lost pet. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), microchips really are a benefit to lost pet recovery. In a study of over 7,700 stray animals in shelters;
· Only 21.9% of dogs without microchips were reunited with their owners.
· 52.2% of the dogs that made it home had microchips.
· Only 1.8% of un-chipped cats were reunited with their owners.
· 38.5% of microchipped cats were able to go home.
· For the microchipped animals that never made it home, the majority of the time it was due to incorrect owner information on the chip registration.
Keeping your registration up to date is equally as important as having your pet chipped!
Does a microchip really help you find your lost pet?
When people come into Hickory and ask about microchipping, I love to tell this this story:
A client of ours was fostering a pet for an animal rescue in North Carolina. This adorable little beagle mix was all set to be adopted and came into the clinic to be microchipped and have her final checkup before going to her new home. As standard practice, we always scan the pet before implanting a new chip just to ensure the pet has not already been microchipped. Boy were they surprised to find out that this little lady not only had a microchip, she had been missing for a very long time, and from Texas! We called the microchipping company to get the owner’s information, and this lucky dog got to go home to her family.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that shelters and rescues transfer pets ALL the time! If a pet is having a difficult time getting adopted in one area, they may choose to move the pet to a different town, city, or even state to give the pet a better chance of adoption. It is not uncommon for pets to end up across the country from where they were originally brought into the shelter or rescue.
What exactly is a microchip? How does it work?
A microchip is a small electronic chip encased in glass approximately the size of a grain of rice. This device has no battery and is encoded with a distinct number and/or letter sequence. Even though the microchip itself has no battery (the chip is activated by the scanner) most microchips last the life of the dog. Chip failure does happen but the risk is very low with modern microchips.
How is a microchip placed in my pet? Will it hurt?
Implanting a microchip is a fairly simple procedure and can be done the same day at your veterinarian. The chip is implanted using a hypodermic needle slightly larger than those used to give vaccines. There is no anesthesia required and most pets only experience a small amount of discomfort, if any at all. This may sound simple, but the placement of the chip is essential so having your chip implanted by a professional is a must. Chips placed too shallowly may fall out while chips placed too deeply may not be readable to scanners.
There are a lot of microchips out there! How will I know which one to choose?
While it is true that there are a large variety of companies that offer microchips, the only real difference is ISO and non-ISO. ISO stands for the International Standards Organization, which is an organization which has approved a global standard for microchips. This to create an identification system that is recognizable worldwide, meaning your pet’s microchip will scan anywhere in the world! Most companies have moved solely to ISO chips, however, if you ever plan to travel out of the country with your pet, ensure that the chip you are receiving is an ISO chip. While microchipping cannot replace having identification tags on your pets, it is another tool veterinary and animal control staff can use to identify individual animals and hopefully return them to their homes.
“Microchipping of Animals FAQ.” Microchipping of Animals FAQ. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.