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Lassie Come Home- Microchip Your Pet

Mar 25, 2008
Why should animals die needlessly when we have the technology and ability to protect them and assist in their return when they are lost ?

A microchip is a small radio transponder which is implanted under the skin near the shoulder blades of the pet via a sterile needle. The chip , about the size of a rice gain, activates a receiver in the scanner which transmits its microchip number to an electronic scanner for veterinary or animal welfare/control personnel to read. They then can determine the type of chip and contact the approriate pet recovery database to discover the owners information.

Over 840,000 dogs and 572,320 cats suffered a needless death due to the lack of identification when they were discovered as strays. These figures come from the 1997 survey of 1000 animal shelters across the US conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. These are alarming statistics which highlight the importance of microchipping and registering your contact information for your pet which wold dramatically lower these numbers.

When natural disasters such as Hurricane Rita or Katrina happen we see the importance of microchipping as the reunification of lost pets is enhanced. Accidents and natural disasters happen ,as do open doors and unlocked fences which allow the pet to escape without being noticed. Leashes and collars as well as collar tags can fall off or be lost and animals go missing. While some purebred pets are tattooed upon birth by breeders and kennels this is still mainly done for show dogs. The responsible answer is microchipping.

The cost of microchipping varies by veterinary charges and registration fees varies but is usually around $45.00 and registration with the recovery services is free or a small annual fee to keep the registration current when people move. Some of these services keep the data current by regularily contacting and confirming the contact information with the owner. Others rely on the owner to keep the record updated. Some municipal governments use the tag information to license pets in their area and provide support for animal control activities. Others use metal tags and tokens that can fall off and be lost.

Microchipping of pets is a wise and most effective way to enhance pet recovery when a dog or cat goes missing. It is a uniform way that assists animal control and shelters in returning the pet to their owner . A minimal cost and activity at the beginning of pet ownership can eliminate and avoid the pain and suffering of losing the family pet.

The information contained in the registration allows the rapid contact and return of the animal upon arriving at animal welfare organization. Shelters across North America have scanners that can read and identify a wide variety of chips being used. In the United States there is a movement to international microchip standards (ISO) which are used in most developed countries including Canada. The current non-ISO chips in the US can be read today and in Canada the scanners read both ISO and non-ISO chips in scanners provided specifically for that market.

Microchips have a distinct and discrete code or number which they transmit when excited by a scanner. Depending on the code the registry can easily be contacted by toll free telephone. The registries are not all exclusive to the chip manufacturers and some include all chips that are in the market. The registries have names like Home Again, 24Petwatch and Avid ID. the 24Petwatch registry allows the registration of all microchips regardless of maker. Its database can be searched in real-time by the largest online shelter and rescue software in North America. This assists in recoveries and online searching across geographic boundaries. Having your pet chipped and registered does save lives of countless lost pets.
About the Author
In addition to writing on microchipping Rob Metras is interested on how to give the best care to your dogs and cats. Click on the the following link for a free ebook on caring for your own dogs and cats. Rob blogs at on a variety of dog and feline care and pet welfare issues
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