According to the American Humane Association, only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats actually find their owners after being lost. In fact, more than 20 million pets are euthanized year after year because animal rescue units cannot find the original owners. But you need not fear because there is now an effective way of tracking down lost pets.
Enter the microchips, tiny devices that have been particularly useful in the return of lost pets. This is a permanent radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip is implanted under the pet’s skin. Implantation is done using a hypodermic needle. The identification number stored in this tiny transponder cannot be lost, altered and intentionally removed.
A veterinarian as well as most animal shelters can do the procedure. Animal shelters provide the service for much less than a vet. It can be done in about thirty seconds and does not hurt pets. A microchip ID is a very, very small chip. In fact, it’s just about the size of a grain of rice.
Three companies that produce these microchip IDs are HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service, 24PetWatch and AVID (American Veterinary Identification Devices) Microchip ID. Each of the sponsors has their own national database for pet information.
The microchip implanted under the pet’s skin reflects the low-frequency radio waves given by the scanner. The unique alphanumeric code is then retrieved, decoded, and displayed in the scanner readout window when the animal is scanned. Scanners can be handheld that have a reading range of about 3 inches and some are larger and more powerful that have reading ranges that vary from 6 to 20 inches.
Animal shelters and animal control officers have been educated and informed about microchip identification and how it functions. Shelters use industry-wide, cross-compatible scanners that read all chips operating at a certain frequency and once a microchip is located in an animal, the appropriate steps are then taken.
For pets traveling to all countries with the exception of China, you should use ISO 15 digit microchip that meets ISO standards 11784/11785. This is because the immigration officers use the microchips to compare the pet they are scanning to the presented veterinary documents.
There are still some owners who are against microchips even though studies have shown that using microchips to track your pet is completely safe. There is an issue reported that these microchips are the culprits that cause Fibro Sarcomas in the animals that have been implanted with these devices.
However, a lot of pet owners are not bothered by this issue because of the advantages that microchipping offers. Injecting a microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anesthesia is not even required or recommended. The AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association, 2007) goes on to state that “The chip is made out of an inert, biocompatible substance, which means it won’t cause an allergic reaction in your furry friend, and it won’t degenerate over time”. When properly implanted, a small layer of connective tissue forms around the microchip thus actually preventing movement or migration of the chip.
From the moment you adopted your pet, your pet’s health and safety is in your hands. Whether to have our pets microchipped or not, the decision is yours.
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