May is Microchip month here at Ocean Animal Hospital.
Microchips are tiny cylindrical chips a little bigger than a grain of rice. They are inserted under the skin of dogs and cats with a needle. Each chip has its own code or Microchip Number that can be registered to the owner. If the pet is found, a microchip scanner can be used to obtain this number, reuniting pet and owner.
Normally, in cats and dogs, the chip is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades. A needle about the size of the needle used when donating blood is used to deliver the chip. Thin layers of connective tissue then form around the chip to hold it in place. Often times, you can feel the chip under the skin.
The microchip itself is a passive RFID (Radiofrequency Identification). It does not have an internal power source so there is never a concern of batteries running down, no matter how old it is or how long it has been in the pet. The chip collects energy from, and is activated by, the scanner, which reads the number or code. When the number is obtained, the shelter or veterinarian need only contact the pet recovery service, to reunite the pet with the owner.
Once the chip is placed in the animal, it is the owners responsibility to register the number with a pet recovery service. The registration will include the chip number, owner contact information, pet name and description, veterinary contact information and emergency contact information. Once registered, it is imperative that the owner keep the contact information current. If a shelter receives a stray that has a chip but the owner contact information is old or invalid, the pet cannot be returned.
In some countries, including Northern Ireland and New Zealand, microchipping is mandatory for all dogs. Although it is not mandatory in the United States, research done at Ohio State University showed that the return rate for stray dogs was 2.5 times higher and the return rate for stray cats was 20 times higher in microchipped pets as compared to the rates of return for unchipped stray dogs and cats that had entered the shelters.
Ocean Animal Hospital believes that all dogs and cats should be microchipped, especially with hurricane season coming up. We are offering a 20% discount for all microchips implanted in May. Call now for more information.