Dog And Microchip Implants
Microchip implant (animal)A microchip implant is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin of a dog, cat, horse, parrot or other animal. The chips are about the size of a large grain of rice and are based on a passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology.
The use of externally attached microchip devices such as RFID ear tags (piercings rather than implants) is another, related method commonly used for identifying farm and ranch animals other than horses. In some cases the external microchips may be readable on the same scanner as the implanted style.
Uses and benefits
Microchips have been particularly useful in the return of lost pets. They can also assist where the ownership of an animal is in dispute.
Animal shelters and animal control centers benefit using microchip identification products by more quickly and efficiently returning pets to their owners. When a pet can be quickly matched to its owner, the shelter avoids the expense of housing, feeding, providing medical care, and outplacing or euthanizing the pet. Microchipping is becoming standard at shelters: many require all outplaced animals to receive a microchip, and provide the service as part of the adoption package. Animal-control officers are trained and equipped to scan animals.
In addition to shelters and veterinarians, microchips are used by kennels, breeders, brokers, trainers, registries, rescue groups, humane societies, clinics, farms, stables, animal clubs and associations, researchers, and pet stores.
Several countries require a microchip when importing an animal to prove that the animal and the vaccination record match. Microchip tagging may also be required for CITES-regulated international trade in certain rare animals: for example, Asian Arowana are so tagged, in order to ensure that only captive-bred fish are imported.
System of recovery
Effective pet identification and recovery depend on the following:
- A pet owner either adopts a pet at a shelter that microchips some or all adoptee animals, or the owner with an existing pet brings it to a veterinarian (or a shelter) that provides the service.
- The shelter or veterinarian does a pre-scan to verify that the animal initially does not have a chip, selects a microchip from their stock, makes a note of that chip's unique ID, and then inserts the chip into the animal with a syringe. The injection requires no anesthetic.
- Before sending the animal home, the vet or shelter performs a test scan on the animal. This helps ensure that the chip will be picked up by a scanner, and that its unique identifying number will be read correctly.
- An enrollment form is completed with the chip number, the pet owner's contact information, the name and description of the pet, the shelter's and/or veterinarian's contact information, and an alternate emergency contact designated by the pet owner. (Some shelters or vets, however, choose to designate themselves as the primary contact, and take the responsibility of contacting the owner directly. This allows them to be kept informed about possible problems with the animals they place.) The form is then sent to a registry keeper to be entered into its database. Depending on regional custom, selected chip brand, and the pet owner's preference, this registry keeper might be the chip's manufacturer or distributor, or an independent provider. In some countries a single official national database may be used. After receiving a registration fee, the registry keeper typically provides a 24-hour, toll-free telephone service for pet recovery, good for the life of the pet. Some veterinarians do not complete the registration on the owner's behalf. In these situations, the owner must register the animal, usually through an online application. A failure to complete this step will lead to a pet whose chip can be read but whose owner cannot be contacted due to the lack of information associated to the chip's unique ID.
- The pet owner is also provided the chip ID and the contact information of the recovery service. This is often in the form of a collar tag imprinted with the chip ID and the recovery service's toll-free number, to be worn by the animal along with a certified registration certificate that can be sold/transferred with the pet. This ensures proper identification when an animal is sold or traded. A microchipped animal being sold or traded without a matching certificate could be a stolen animal.
- If the pet is lost or stolen, and is found by local authorities or taken to a shelter, it is scanned during intake to see if a chip exists. If one is detected, authorities need to figure out which recovery service has the owner record, because there may be several different ones, each competing for the patronage of the pet owner. (Issues and solutions dealing with the problem of multiple registries have been moved to the article Pet recovery service.) They then call the recovery service and provide them the ID number, the pet's description, and the location of the animal. If the pet is wearing the collar tag, anyone who finds the pet can call the toll-free number, making it unnecessary to involve the authorities. (The owner can also preemptively notify the recovery service directly if a pet disappears. This is useful if the pet is stolen, and is taken to a vet who scans it and checks with the recovery service.)
- The recovery service notifies the owner that the pet has been found, and where to go to recover the animal.
Many veterinarians perform test scans on microchipped animals every time the animal is brought in for care. This ensures the chip still performs properly. Vets sometimes use the chip ID as the pet's ID in their databases, and print this number on all outgoing paperwork associated with its services, such as receipts, test results, vaccination certifications, and descriptions of medical or surgical procedures.