I decided to create this series of articles to address the top questions I’ve been asked as a veterinary technician. I’m a CVDT (Certified Veterinary Dental Technician), have been in the field for over ten years and have noticed a trend in the most commonly asked questions by pet owners. The answers found in these articles will reflect how things have been done in my experience only; keep in mind that all veterinarians and veterinary hospitals have varying policies and techniques.
Today we’ll discuss microchips. For some of you, this will be old news. Millions of pets have been microchipped! But for others, it’s a new concept! Many people have either never heard of it before or are just simply unfamiliar with the details of microchipping.
What is a Microchip?
A microchip is a very simple device that could be the difference in having your lost pet returned to you or not. It is a small implant, about the size of a large grain of rice that, for dogs and cats, is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. The implant is put in place with a large needle; no surgery is needed.
Each microchip has an individual number; every chip is different. Essentially, each chip has a bar code. This number on this bar code is registered through a national registry so that your pet is the only one in the country with that particular number.
Every veterinary clinic and most animal shelters have a microchip scanner. The scanner is quick and easy to use, simply waving it over the general area of the pet where a microchip is likely to be. If the pet is chipped, his personal number is displayed on the scanner. This number then provides all pertinent information, owner name, contact information and more, through the registry.
Simply put, a microchip is an implant that provides your pet a form of permanent identification that can help him find his way home no matter where he’s ended up in the country!
When Can I Have My Pet Microchipped?
Microchipping is commonly done during neuter and spay surgeries as this is simply a convenient time to do so. However, it can be done at any time. No anesthesia, no pain medicine and no surgery of any kind is needed. Because every pet hospital has different polices, simply give your veterinary office a call to find out when they recommend the procedure be done. Microchipping is fast and easy as it is delivered through an injection.
What Happens After My Pet Is Microchipped?
Depending on the brand of microchip used, you may receive some items after your pet gets his chip. The company, Home Again provides paperwork labeled with your pet’s personal identification number for you to keep on file. You are also provided with an ID tag with his number displayed.
It also depends on where you have the microchip implanted but most veterinary hospitals register the chip for you as the cost for registration is likely covered in their microchip fee. However, make sure that this is how your pet hospital does it; if the chip doesn’t get registered through the national registry, it’s useless.
As far as any “after care” for the injection site, there is none. Because a large needle is used to deliver the microchip, at times pets will be a little sore where it was inserted, but this should be short lived. If you feel your pet is having some kind of reaction or is experiencing an extreme amount of pain, be sure to get a hold of your pet’s veterinarian.
Microchipping is fast, easy and relatively inexpensive. The chip has been the reason for many pets returning home to their rightful owners that may not have found their way home otherwise. Ask your vet for more information about microchipping!