May is Microchip Month!

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Most pet owners will agree that pets are like family.  Keeping our furry family members safe is a number one priority, but dogs and cats often have a tendency to wander away and get lost. Making sure your pet is microchipped is one of the best ways to ensure they return home.  Most veterinary clinics keep microchips on hand so your pet can be implanted at your convenience. Here at the Camden Hospital for Animals, we carry HomeAgain microchips.

A microchip is a small electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder about the size of a grain of rice. Microchips are injected beneath the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades using a sterile pre-loaded applicator.  The procedure only takes a few seconds and is similar to receiving a vaccine.

Microchips are not the same as GPS devises because they do not require a power source or track your pet’s position. Microchips use radio frequency identification technology. When a microchip scanner is passed over your pet, the microchip is activated and transmits your pet’s unique identification number. Microchips provide permanent ID, which is more effective than collars and tags (alone) that may fall off, be removed, or become difficult to read.   Because cats often don’t wear collars or other identification, most cats without microchips don’t return home. The number of cats with microchips returned home is much higher.  There are very similar results seen in studies involving dogs as well.

Microchips should last your pet’s lifetime because they are made out of bio compatible materials that won’t degenerate over time.  HomeAgain microchips have an anti-migration feature that helps make sure the chip stays in the location it was implanted.

Once your pet is microchipped, you need to: 1) register the ID number in a database (such as the HomeAgain National Pet Recovery Database); 2) keep your contact info up-to-date; 3) ask your veterinarian to scan your pet’s microchip at least once a year to make sure it can be detected.

If your pet gets lost or stolen and is taken to a veterinary clinic or the animal shelter, it will be scanned to check for a microchip ID. If the pet has a microchip number, the identification number will be called into the associated pet recovery service who will then try to call the owners with the contact information they have available.

To remind pet owners to check and update their information, AAHA and the AVMA have established August 15 as "Check the Chip Day."

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