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Microchipping your Pet

PET IDENTIFICATION is so important these days. Gone are the days when most of us knew our neighbors dog as it meandered through our yard on a sunny day. That is the way it was when I was growing up. Our family dog ran loose just like the neighbors dogs, and everyone knew their names and where they lived.

And cats? Forget it. They all lived outside back then, no collars or tags to speak of.

That is not the case in todays busy world. It is generally not considered safe to let your pet outdoors, unsupervised, but things can happen and pets can escape, jump fences, and even be let outdoors by an unassuming visitor. While a tag on your dogs collar is always advised, tags can get lost, collars can come off, and sometimes pets escape without even wearing them.

This is where the Pet Microchip comes in.

Microchips have been around for many years now, but some pet owners are still hesitant to get their pet chipped. It is important to note that pet microchips are not tracking devices, nor do they contain personal information. When a microchip is scanned, a unique ID number, as well as the chips manufacturer, are displayed on the scanner. This information allows the person scanning the pet, typically a veterinarian or a shelter, to contact the correct database and get the owners contact information. This would include phone numbers and address, as well as any important information about the pet, if needed. For example, if your pet is diabetic or has food allergies, you could note that on your pets microchip registration. The shelter or vet who scanned your pet would then get this information and know they needed specialized care. This could be lifesaving in more than one way. An important consideration.

Safety has also been a concern of owners with microchipping pets. It is important to consider the statistics: The British Small Animal Veterinary Association maintains a database of microchips in pets. Over 4,000,000 pets have been chipped, and of those only 391 reported problems that were associated with the chip. These reactions include chip migration, failure of the chip, hairloss at the implantation site, infection, and tumors. It is important to note that most of these reactions are non life threatening and considered relatively harmless to the pet.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to microchipping your pet. It is an easy process, done by a veterinarian during a clinic visit, and can literally save your pets life. The cost averages about $50.00 and is a one-time fee for implantation and initial registration.

It is however very important to keep your pets microchip registration current with your contact numbers and address! I cannot tell you how many times as a veterinary technician we would find a microchip in a stray dog, only to have the owners information be out of date or non-existent, making it impossible to find the owner. That is a sad situation my friends.

Our advice: microchip your pet! The best time is when they are spayed or neutered. Many shelters chip pets automatically once they are adopted. Remember, if your pet is already altered or just never got a chip, its a very easy process at your veterinarian's office. If your pet already has a microchip, please confirm your contact information is up to date and accurate.

For more information and FAQ's about microchips, speak to your veterinarian or please visit the AVMA website HERE


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