Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | October 29, 2008

Microchip Your Pet

Lexis - with Microchip

Lexis - with Microchip

Hi my name is Lexis, the host of this week’s Pet Column promoting microchipping as the best way for lost pets to find their way back home.  As one of many pets at the Second Chance shelter who arrived without any identification, I have no way of being returned to my family.

I am not alone in this situation, as an average of 8 to 12 million companion animals end up in shelters across the country each year. Sadly, only about 15 percent of those dogs and 2 percent of the cats are reunited with their owners. These dreary statistics can easily be remedied through the simple prevention approach of the microchip. 

What is a microchip?  It is a device consisting of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or integrated circuit sealed in a capsule of medical-grade glass. The glass capsule is partially coated in a porous polypropylene substance to encourage the formation of tissue to prevent migration within the body.  It is inserted (quickly and relatively painlessly) into the subcutaneous tissue, generally between the shoulder blades of pets and is the size of a grain of rice.

When a scanner is brought within range of the implant, the scanner emits a radio signal that stimulates the implant, causing it to emit its own radio signal in response. That signal is picked up by the scanner and converted into a unique identification number that is used to identify the pet.

Despite rumors to the contrary, microchips do not have GPS capability to locate a missing pet, nor can they be accessed by a satellite, so your pet can not be tracked by a government entity or identified beyond a range of about three to 12 inches.

A microchip implant helps to recover a lost pets turned into an animal shelter, animal control, or a veterinarian’s office, or any entity utilizing RFID scanners to try to identify lost pets (if there is no collar). If the pet has been chipped, the implant will emit a numerical code that can be looked up in a registry to identify and contact the pet parent.

As with any ID method, it is imperative for pet parents to keep your information up to date. Databases linked to a pet’s microchip have to be kept current with your contact information.  More than once pets have arrived at Second Chance with a microchip that did not link to a working phone number or address.

Consider microchipping your pet as an insurance policy for assuring your pet is returned to you if ever lost.  Even for pet parents who are diligent about keeping their pets in collars with I.D. tags – pets often “Houdini” out of their collars.  Additionally, cats are less likely to find their way home once lost because they are less likely to be given collars and identification tags by their parents. 

Because Second Chance believes so strongly in providing all pets with a secure identity source, all adoptable pets, such as myself, receive a microchip prior to adoption.  I also come with a great sense of humor, loving personality, and award-winning looks.  So come on down to the shelter to meet a purrfect cat that hopes to find a new home and never lose sight of it again…

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet or learn about SCHS Spay/Neuter Vouchers, Volunteer & Foster Care and other Programs.  Visit www.secondchancehumanesociety.org to see our adoptable pets.  Responses to Pet Columns can be sent to Kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.org.

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