We all have good intentions with picking out new collars and tags but taking this extra step is so important for you, your family, and most important, your fur baby. I did some research and want to share it with you. Hopefully reading the pros and cons can help you better decide what works for you and your pet.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a glass bead about the size of a grain of rice and contains a radio transmitter, an antenna, and a computer chip with a 10-digit code. This chip is placed under your pets skin in between their shoulder blades with a needle and syringe.
Microchips are implantable computer chips that encode a unique identification number to help reunite you with your lost pet. The number coincides with the contact information that owners register with a microchip manufacturer. The chip can never break or fall out. They work by receiving a radio signal from a scanner and transmitting the encoded chip identification number back to the scanner. These chips can be implanted by your veterinarian or an animal shelter.
Study show the importance of getting your pet microchipped.
According to Science Daily, the study reported that cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned home than cats without, while dogs with microchips were 2.5 times more likely to be returned home than those without. Of course, in order for a microchip to work, you will need to register the microchip and keep your contact information up-to-date. Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but it all depends on the information you give. So remember to update your information and provide multiple emergency contacts in case your pet gets lost while you are out of town.
It’s so important to keep your contact information up-to-date!
Most people who obtain a microchip for their pet register their contact information with the chip’s manufacturer but there are other options to register with other companies. Many animal shelters keep their own microchip registry databases. It’s also important for veterinarians and shelters to remind pet owners to update their pet’s contact information during a scheduled visit.
How to register.
Because of these multiple registration options, a new web site developed by the American Animal Hospital Association, http://petmicrochiplookup.org, is likely to further improve the chances that owners of lost animals with microchips will be found. The site, launched in late September, performs a real-time lookup of a microchip number and determines which company has a registry for that microchip. The site tells users that a microchip is registered with a specific database and lists the registry number to call. Then you know a hit has been found.
Cost to Microchip.
The estimated cost to implant and register a microchip ranges from about $25 to $75, depending on where the service is performed. I called our vet in Wintersville, Ohio and the cost for each dog is $35.00.
- Expect to pay a one-time fee, typically under $20, to register a pet. PETtrac charges a one-time fee of $18.50 for one pet or $50 for up to five pets, and there is a $6 fee if information changes.
- Some animal shelters only adopt out pets already microchipped. In these cases, the cost of microchipping is included in the adoption fee, typically between $50 and $100 for cats or $70 to $300 for dogs.
- Some animal shelters offer microchipping for a discounted cost, between $20 and $30.
- Some veterinarians will implant the microchip at a reduced rate if done in conjunction with another service, such as vaccinations.
What should be included:
- Each chip contains a unique identification number.
- The procedure and the microchip itself are included in the cost.
- The chip is inserted under the skin, usually at the neck and front shoulder section of the pet, using a syringe.
- Pets can be microchipped as early as six to eight weeks.
- Not all scanners can read all microchips. While most countries abide by the International Standards Organization's 134.2kHz microchip, 80 percent of the scanners and most outfitted pets in the U.S. have the 125 kHz chips. Before microchipping a pet, be sure to call around area shelters -- as far away as 50 miles -- to make sure the scanners they use are compatible with the microchip the vet provides
- www.petmicrochiplookup.org confronts common myths about microchipping, and describes how implanting works. The article also includes a link to microchip manufacturers and their telephone numbers.
- There has been a small amount of concern over RFID technology causing cancerous tumors. According to the Washington Post, some studies found there was a small increase in cancer rate in rats implanted with RFID technology. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association and several other pet organizations stand behind the technology, touting the benefits and importance of microchipping.
Shopping for pet microchipping:
- The ASPCA lists the most common companies that manufacture microchips.
- Veterinary and pet advocacy groups still advise keeping a collar with a tag on a dog or cat as the primary source of owner contact information.
If your considering microchipping your pet, here are some important things to consider before doing so:
- There is conflict information as to whether this procedure is painless or not. I found an article stating that the chips are inserted with a 12 gauge needle. It is also important to insist that these chips be inserted using Anesthetic.
- Potential Problems: Because the chip is inserted under the skin, it can move. This poses some problems because on occasion the microchip can migrate under the shoulder blade or up to the back of the neck -- or even all the way down to the belly. Make sure your vet tells you where the chip is and check for it regularly
- There are four types of microchips used in the United States but not all facilities have the capabilities to scan for all four types.
- Make sure to always keep your contact information updated through the manufactured registry.
- Your pet can reject this foreign body. There have been two documented cases in veterinary medicine where sarcoma or fibrosarcoma, two types of soft tissue tumors, occurred at the site of the injection.
- Microchips carry the risk of an autoimmune reaction or a degenerative reaction where your pet’s immune system becomes aggravated or chronically inflamed, which can in turn lead to tissue degeneration and abnormal cell growth, or cancer at the site of implantation.
There are risks to everything which Thomas and I both know but our dog, Lady, was microchipped and lived to be 15 years old and we never had a problem. Your vet can help ease your mind and educate you on microchipping. I hope this blog has helped you. Check out the links I provided for more information.
If you haven't read my last blog, Clavamox for Maggie, check it out here in the November Archives...