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Posted on 10-10-2018

There are many ways to identify your pet, and placement of a microchip is one of them. Placement of a chip is a means of semi-permanent identification. A microchip is a small device (about one centimeter) that is placed under the pet’s skin. The device itself is inert and emits no energy. The chip is encoded with a number, and that number can be read by a scanning device. The hand held scanner emits a low radio frequency that can detect the chip and read the number. Here are some considerations to help you decide if your pet should receive a microchip.

Fundamentally, I am in favor of the microchip. A microchip won’t come off like a collar or tag; it stays in place for an extended period of time. Chips are placed by a veterinarian, using a technique similar to an injection. Anesthesia is not usually required, but chips can be placed with local anesthesia. Many pets are chipped while under general anesthesia for routine procedures such as spay or neuter. There is a small fee for chip placement and cost of chip.

Microchip numbers should be registered with national pet finder registries. There isn’t much reason to chip your pet if you don’t register the number nationally. There is usually no extra fee for registration, but will depend upon the brand of chip used. The number should also be documented in the pet’s veterinary medical record. The microchip is an excellent way for a pet finder to locate you, the owner, if your pet gets lost. Your pet’s chip number is unique to him/her, and will be registered with your name and contact information.

It is true that there is expense involved, so that could be considered a down side. The chipping procedure can hurt a little bit too. The microchip stays in place, most of the time, and some even have barriers to migration. However, an occasional chip will migrate, or move from the original implantation area.  Sometimes the new location can be less accepting of the chip, causing discomfort to the pet. Also, the chip is a foreign object under the skin of the animal, and the body can manifest its resentment by excessive inflammation. Rarely, a chip has to be surgically removed. Occasionally a chip malfunctions for whatever reason, and will not give off the number. In those cases a pet can re-chipped if the owner so chooses.

I firmly recommend that all pets wear identification; we see far too many lost pets. Micro chipping is a means to permanent identification for your pet, but is not a perfect plan. There are some rare issues that occur through no fault of the owner or veterinarian. All in all, the risks are small, but your veterinarian should be the one to help you decide. Until next time…Thanks for Caring!!

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