Each year, more than three million cats and dogs are euthanized at U.S. animal shelters. (Source: HSUS) That’s about half of all cats and dogs that enter shelters. But, using microchip technology, lost pets are identified by shelters and veterinarians every day, and reunited with their owners.
A study of stray animals at animal shelters revealed dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time and microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time.Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time and microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.
(Source: Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009)
WHAT IS A MICROCHIP AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Microchips, small electronic chips the size of a grain of rice, are inscribed with a unique identification code. When a scanner is passed over a microchip, the chip transmits the identification code to the scanner, where it is displayed on the scanner screen. A simple and quick procedure, microchips are inserted below the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. A microchip is permanent, unalterable and does not change the appearance of a pet. Microchips are an important part of pet care; you never know if your pet might be lost or stolen some day.
REGISTER AND MAINTAIN YOUR PET’S MICROCHIP
Registration instructions are provided when your pet is chipped. You must register the microchip and keep your contact information up-to-date in the microchip registration database. When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If they find a microchip with accurate information in the registry, they can quickly find the animal’s owner.
MICROCHIPS DO NOT REPLACE ID AND RABIES TAGS
Microchips are great for permanent, tamper-proof identification, but nothing replaces a collar with up-to-date identification tags. If a lost pet is wearing a collar with tags, it’s very quick to read the tag and contact the owner. But if a pet is not wearing a collar and tags, or if the collar is lost or removed, then a microchip might be the only way a pet’s owner can be found. Rabies tag numbers also allow tracing of animals and identification of a lost animal’s owner, but it can be hard to have a rabies number traced after veterinary clinics or county offices are closed for the day. Microchip databases are online or are telephone-accessed and are available 24/7/365.
MICROCHIP SERVICES IN CHATHAM COUNTY
Most veterinary clinics have microchips so it’s likely that your pet can be implanted with a microchip by making an appointment. Often, veterinarians or animal rescue groups will host a microchipping event. Check online or make a few phone calls to find a location near you.