Is your pet microchipped?
According to the American Humane Association approximately over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year, and one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.
So what is a microchip and what does it mean to have your pet microchipped?
A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery—it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. The identification number is unique and is registered online with the microchip’s company with your information. When your lost pet is found and brought into a clinic/shelter they are scanned and then the clinic will have the necessary information for you to be contacted and reunited with your lost loved one.
How is a microchip implanted into an animal? Is it painful? Does it require surgery or anesthesia?
It is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle. It is no more painful than a typical injection, although the needle is slightly larger than those used for injection. No surgery or anesthesia is required—a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit. If your pet is already under anesthesia for a procedure, such as neutering or spaying, the microchip can often be implanted while they're still under anesthesia.
What kind of information is contained in the microchip? Is there a tracking device in it? Will it store my pet's medical information?
The microchips presently used in pets only contain identification numbers. Many people are under the misconception that a microchip is actually a tracking device so that if your pet runs away you can just track them via GPS. However, the microchip is not a GPS device and cannot track your animal if it gets lost. Although the present technology microchip itself does not contain your pet's medical information, some microchip registration databases will allow you to store that information in the database for quick reference.
How does a microchip help reunite a lost animal with its owner?
When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If they find a microchip, and if the microchip registry has accurate information, they can quickly find the animal's owner.
Will a microchip really make it more likely for me to get my pet back if it is lost?
Absolutely! A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (including 53 animal shelters across the U.S.) confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families, and the importance of microchip registration. According to the study only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent (a 238 percent increase). Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38 percent (more than 2000 percent better).
Getting your pet microchipped is very important. Equally important is making sure that your pet’s microchipped is registered or updated with your current contact information. According to the AVMA’s study above only 58 percent of the microchipped animals’ microchips had been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information. Make sure that when you get your pet microchipped, or if you adopt one that is already microchipped, that you get registered online that day. Here at Butler Animal Clinic we will register your pet for you online before you leave.
No bigger than a grain of rice or more costly than a month’s supply of pet food, a pet microchip and enrollment in a pet recovery database brings lost pets home and provides peace of mind that your beloved companion will never wander unknown. Feel free to contact us (904)619-2323 about getting your pet in for a microchip, or with any other microchip questions you may have.