CVMA-ACMV

Microchipping Can Help Reunite Owners with Lost Pets

October 23, 2012

There are many advantages to having a microchip implanted in your dog or cat. A chip provides an easy way for your pet to be returned to you should it become lost or injured. According to statistics, at least one-third of pets will get lost at least once in their lifetime.  Most animal shelters, humane societies and veterinarians now have electronic scanners that can read microchips and thereby determine who the owner is.

A microchip implant also allows accurate identification of a pet. Proper identification is especially important in cases where ownership is in question.

By convention, all microchips are implanted in the same part of the body. For dogs and cats, the microchip is implanted under the skin along the back between the shoulder blades. For birds, the microchip is implanted into the breast (pectoral) muscles. Your veterinarian implants the microchip with an instrument that resembles a hypodermic needle. The procedure is as simple, quick and painless as a vaccination, and can be performed in the office by the veterinarian while the owner waits.

Scanning an animal for a microchip is also a simple procedure that involves passing a scanner over the site of the implant. Once the identification number is retrieved, a database registry can be accessed where the unique identification code and information pertaining to that microchip are stored.  Accessibility to this information is 24 hours a day, seven days a week for most databases via a toll-free number. The database can provide the animal's name, owner name, address and contact phone number.

Microchips have distinct advantages over tattoos and collars. Collars can be easily removed or lost, while tattoos can become illegible and information retrieval can be slow or impossible due to incomplete record keeping. There is also no harm in providing these methods of identification along with a microchip.

Microchip implants should even be considered for pets that never leave the home. These pets may accidentally get out of the house and they are particularly susceptible to disorientation when they do escape.