Will Your Pet’s Microchip Bring Him Home?

This was a sobering email that I got this morning. I worked in an animal hospital and it's alarming how many dogs have microchips but don't have it registered.



Will Your Pet’s Microchip Bring Him Home?

Other than hanging identification tags on collars, I have always thought (and advised my clients) that microchipping our dogs and cats is the best way to ensure that we will be reunited should circumstances separate us. As it turns out, microchipping isn't nearly so foolproof as I’ve believed- not because the chips are defective, but rather, because of human error. Have a look at what I just read in the November 1st edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA):

“A limitation of the microchip registry system is than many pet owners do not register microchips in their names according to ‘Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters’ (see JAVMA, July 15, 2009). In that study, shelters contacted microchip registries regarding 1,943 animals but found registrations for only 58.1 percent. The registries were unable to find any information on the owner or on the person who implanted the microchip for 9.8 percent of the animals. Among other recommendations, the study’s authors suggested that veterinarians and shelter personnel should not only register pet microchips at the time of implantation, but also remind the pets’ owners to update information in the registry.

Jason Merrihew, American Animal Hospital Association spokesman said, educating pet owners is a key step to improve microchipping as a form of pet identification. ‘Every time that they change their address or change phone numbers, then they need to update that microchip information,’ Merrihew said.”

So what does all this mean? Here’s the bottom line in terms of achieving the intended purpose of your pet’s identification microchip: At the time your dog or cat is microchipped, be sure to complete the registration materials and have them processed with the appropriate microchip registry. Be sure your veterinarian (or whoever it is that implants the microchip) does the same. Additionally, update that registry whenever your contact data (telephone number, address) changes. I haven’t moved or changed my phone number (or my name!) in well over a decade, so my pets and I are in good shape. How about you and yours? Will your lost dog or cat be able to find you again? If you know your contact information is not current, or you are unsure, pick up the phone or go online today. It could make all the difference.

Best wishes to your and your four-legged family members for abundant good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Author of: Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Spot’s Blog: http://www.speakingforspot.com/blog
Email: dr.kay@speakingforspot.com

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