Did you know that according to statistics, 1 in 3 pets will become lost at one point in their lives? Or that more pets are lost July 4th weekend than any other time of the year? The entire Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s staff’s hearts broke when we heard about all of the animals that were unable to be reunited with their families after Hurricane Katrina. Microchipping would have been able to help so many of those pets return to their families during and after that crisis! Our veterinarians and staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital feel strongly about microchipping our pets to give them every advantage if they ever become lost.
So, what is a microchip? Microchips are safe and permanent methods of identifying our fur babies, and act as an ideal back-up for their ID tags—they stay on the pet, even when the collar comes off. A microchip is considered a RFID, or radio-frequency identification device. As passive RFIDs, microchips do not emit any harmful frequencies. They are slightly larger than a grain of rice and are implanted under your pet’s skin with a sterile applicator. The microchips we use come with a lifetime guarantee, so if for some reason they stop working, the manufacturer will issue a free replacement. Our veterinarians like to microchip pets in conjunction with a sedated event (like a spay), or a local anesthetic can be used to minimize any discomfort if it’s done while the pet is awake. Once the microchip is placed, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital submits a registration form with contact information for the pet’s owner. This information is maintained in a database accessible online for veterinarians and animal shelters.
Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s own Katie Bruner, RVT, shared: “I used to work at a shelter before coming to Kingsbrook, and I cannot tell you how many animals came through the doors that made me think, this must be someone’s pet.” The first thing shelter workers will do is scan a pet for a microchip, using a universal scanner. The chip number is then run through the database to get the owner’s contact information. Katie also notes, “Another important lesson is that the chip is only as good as the information behind it!” It is important to remember to update contact information if it changes—such as after a move or getting a new phone number. Another situation that requires updating contact info is if your pet is a rescue. Many shelters will place a microchip in pets that don’t already have one, but the chip will be registered to the shelter—if the pet becomes lost, that’s where he or she will be returned to if the contact information isn’t updated by the new owner.
Nobody ever plans for their pet to go missing, but it does happen. Make sure your pet has the best chance to be reunited with you! Please talk with any of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD if you have any questions about microchipping your pet.