At Pickens Animal Hospital, we are often asked to help owners look for a lost pet. The owners are frantic and unsure who to contact and what to do. And way too often, we are told that the pet had no ID tags and was not microchipped.
Up to 8 million animals end up in shelters every year. Unfortunately, only 15-20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are ever reclaimed by their owners. One of the ways to increase the chances of finding your lost pet is having it microchipped. (http://pets.webmd.com/features/microchipping-your-dog-or-cat)
When a veterinarian microchips your pet, a special needle is used to place a small chip under the animal’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. No anesthesia is required. Each chip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, has its own unique number that can be read by a scanner. Unlike a collar or tags, which can be lost or removed, the chip remains securely in place and will last for the lifetime of your pet.
The procedure only takes a few seconds – it actually takes longer to complete the paperwork.
And the paperwork is critically important. If your pet is lost and ends up at animal control, a shelter or a veterinarian’s office, he/she will be scanned for a microchip (refer to the photo above). If a chip number is detected, a phone call will be made to the company who registered the chip. If the information the company has on file is current, then it is a simple matter of a phone call to notify the owners.
Unfortunately, many more chips are implanted than are registered and kept current. This is why Pickens Animal Hospital includes registration as part of the price of a microchip. Before you leave our office, we will assist with the completion of the paperwork and send it in to the company. Without registration, the microchip is useless!
If your pet has a microchip and you have recently moved or changed your phone number, the information on file with the registering company needs to be updated. If you do not know whom to contact, we will assist you in finding this information.
We often recommend that microchipping be done when your pet is spayed or neutered. But it does not have to be done at the time of surgery. Seeing the needle for the microchip concerns many owners because of its large size. The needle, however, is very sharp and the sensation for your pet is similar to having blood drawn. Many pets do not even flinch when they are “chipped”.
Microchipping is an affordable form of protection for your pet. Please call the office for our current pricing.
Note that for the safety of our patients and our staff, your pet must be current on vaccinations to have a microchip implanted.