May is National Chip Month, so the folks here at Allentown Animal Clinic are discussing microchips and their benefits.
Losing a pet is an extremely difficult event for an owner and pet-lover to go through. Even worse, once a pet is lost, the chances of him/her making it home again are not in their favor. The good new is there is something you can do to help the chances of a lost pet finding its owners again.
Of course, we always recommend keeping pets in a fenced in yard or on a leash and to keep a collar and ID tags on them. Collars can slip off, tags get scratched and rusted, making them difficult to read. Microchipping your pet, however, serves as a fantastic secondary identification system for your pet.
What is it?
A microchip is an identifying integrating circuit implanted just under the skin at the shoulder blades of your pet. It is no bigger than a grain of rice. When your pet is scanned with a microchip reader the microchip number will appear on the screen of the reader. This number is then linked to the owner information.
How much does it cost?
While prices can vary from $25-$50 for the microchip and implanting by your veterinarian, this is a one time fee. Microchip companies may charge a small fee for registering the owner information in the database or to change information if you move. Once the microchip is implanted it never needs to be replaced.
Does it hurt my pet?
Implanting the microchip is much like giving a vaccine. It is inserted under the skin near the shoulder blades with a needle. The procedure is quick and does not require any anesthesia. Some veterinarians, however, will use a topical anesthetic, although this is not necessary.
Is is safe?
The risk to your pet is minimal compared to the risk of losing your pet. The microchips are made from an inert, biocompatible substance, which means it won’t cause an allergic reaction in your pet. Over the years there have been reports of microchips migrating. The newer chips on the market today have anti-migrating properties so this doesn’t happen. Once implanted the microchip will stay in place and will not degenerate over time, ensuring that your pet has permanent identification if he/she were ever to be lost or stolen.
Who has a scanner?
Nearly all veterinarians and animal shelters are all equipped with a microchip reader. In recent years the microchip readers have become universal, meaning they can read any brand of microchip your pet may have.
Microchips are a safe way to be sure your pet has identification. We do recommend still keeping a collar and up to date information on ID tags. Remember any time you move or change your phone number to update any tag information as well as the information stored at the microchip database to increase the chances of your lost pet getting returned to you.