May is National Chip Your Pet Month! Microchipping your pet can sound scary. Whether your pet is chipped or not you may have lots of questions concerning this process. We’re here to help!
How Does Microchipping Work?
A small (think rice size) microchip is inserted into under your pet’s skin. This microchip has a unique identifying code that registers once scanned. If your pet is found and turned into a shelter or other authority, they can scan this chip, obtain the number, and enter it into the national database to find out who the owner is and how to contact them. This isn’t a “pet tracker” and it won’t find your pet lost in the woods, but it will help someone who does find them get them back to you!
Did you know that the chances of being reunited with an unchipped lost pet are about 1 in 5? That’s a pretty big risk and a lot of heartache. Lost pets often end up in shelters, and with overpopulation problems, some may be euthanized. Even if you have a collar that contains up to date information about contacting you, collars can fall off, or even be removed by thieves.
How Much Can I Expect To Pay?
Usually less than $50. Sometimes animals come from shelters with microchips already implanted. If this is the case it is VERY important that you consult the shelter for assistance in updating the microchip database ensuring that you and not the previous owner are listed as the contact. Always make sure to keep this information up to date every time your address or phone number changes!
Are there side-effects?
According to the AVMA:
Since the database was started in 1996, over 4 million animals have been microchipped and only 391 adverse reactions have been reported. Of these reactions, migration of the microchip from its original implantation site is the most common problem reported. Other problems, such as failure of the microchip, hair loss, infection, swelling, and tumor formation, were reported in much lower numbers.
These are pretty low odds, but it’s always good to monitor the injection site, especially if your pet is sensitive. Also, be sure to have your vet scan it regularly during check-ups to ensure it has not migrated and is working properly.