October is Microchip Awareness Month
The thought of losing an animal can be terrifying and distressing – no matter what role they play in our lives. Whether the animal is a cat, a lap dog, or a working ranch dog, they fill vital roles of companionship. One of the best tools that we have for identifying and reuniting animals with their owners is… THE MICROCHIP!
Microchips are small (size of a grain of rice) and are implanted just under the skin, between the shoulder blades of cats and dogs. The chip is an electronic transponder housed in a glass capsule. When scanned, the scanner activates the chip and reads the radio waves emitted from the chip. These waves translate into number that is unique to each microchip. Once registered in a database, this microchip number correlates to a specific animal and their owner.
The critical part of maintaining a microchip is ensuring that the owner’s contact information is current. When this information is accurate, this information allows the animal to be identified and possibly reunited with their owner. If we scan an animal to look for a microchip at the clinic and identify one, we are presented with the microchip number and a phone number to call. If this was a lost animal, we would then call the number on our screen and speak with a customer service representative. The representative will ask us to verify the physical description of the animal. Once verified, the company will provide the clinic with the registered owner’s contact information. The company will then attempt to contact the registered owner.
Important points to remember:
1. Microchips are NOT GPS trackers. There is no way to remotely access the chip data and see where your animal is located.
2. Microchips work for the life of the pet! They will not be inactivated after your initial year of registration expires. There are added services that you can renew after your first year of registration, but these is extra options and do not change the efficacy of the chip itself.
3. Microchips are only as good as the information provided in the database. You MUST keep your contact information current.
4. Make sure that if you adopt an animal from a shelter or friend that you register the chip with your information.
For more information, please contact the clinic or try the following links:
Thanks for reading,
Shannon Nielsen, DVM