Microchipping Saves Lives

by Rob Metras

Animals die needlessly when humans don’t take the necessary action to protect them. A bold statement but a true one, and a problem that has been solved through the introduction of Microchip RFID technology.

Through the use of microchip technology today companion animals can be chipped and owners can make sure the registrations are submitted to one of the major recovery services in their country. The microchip is a small transponder that is activated by a scanner and reads the number of the chip that has been implanted in the animal. The procedure to do this involves a small needle being introduced under the loose skin between the shoulder blades of the animal and a microchip the size of a grain of rice being implanted through the sterile needle. It takes about the same time as it takes for giving the pet their shots or vaccinations. It has been used around the world and extensive testing has shown it to be safe for pets

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.

Microchipping is often done by animal welfare and control authorities before the animal is adopted and can readily be done in the veterinarian’s office inexpensively at the same time vaccinations and or checkups are completed. Owners should ensure that the documentation linking the chip to the owner is sent and registered with a pet recovery database. It is also important to keep the database current by advising of moves and contact changes.

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: