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  • Writer's pictureStream Valley Vet

It's National Microchipping Month!

1 in 3 pets go missing each year. Without ID, 90% of those lost pets don't come home. We don't want any of our pet owners to deal with losing a beloved pet, which is why we're raising awareness! If something were to happen to your pet, this is the easiest way to help find their way home. Keep reading for important facts and answers to general microchip questions.

What IS a microchip?

A microchip is a small, electronic RFID chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that's about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip doesn't have a battery--in fact, it's activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves sent out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the ID number to the scanner, which in turn displays the number on the screen. Your pet's details are registered for life on a National Pet Identification database, making it possible for veterinary hospitals or shelters around the country to aid in the search.

What's the cost of a microchip?

If your pet was adopted from a shelter or purchased from a breeder, your pet may already have a microchip. Revisit your pet adoption paperwork, or have your pet scanned for a microchip at your next vet visit to reveal the unique microchip ID number and register it. However, if you know that your pet is not already microchipped, the average cost of a chip is $45. If that still seems pricey, remember that microchips don't need routine care, maintenance, or replacement! They're designed to last for up to 25 years.

How is a microchip implanted into an animal? Is it painful?

A microchip is injected under the loose area of skin using a hypodermic needle, which is a hollow needle commonly used to inject substances into the body or extract fluid. It's no more painful than a typical injection, even though the needle is slightly larger. The animal's fat and connective tissue bonds to the chip in about 24 hours, which prevents it from moving around in their body. Surgery or anesthesia isn't necessary, as a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary visit!

Is there a tracking device in it?

No, the microchip is not a GPS device and cannot track your animal if it gets lost. Although the present microchip technology itself does not contain a pet's medical information, some registration databases will allow you to store that information for quick reference.

Should I be concerned about my privacy?

You don't need to be concerned about your privacy! The information provided to the registry is only used to contact owners when pets are found and the microchip is scanned. Pet owners can choose to opt in or opt out of other communications, such advertising emails, from the manufacturer if they'd like. The only information about you contained in the database is the information you choose to provide when the chip is registered. Protections are in place so that the average person can't just look up an owners identification on their own time.

Will a microchip really make it easier for me to get my pet back if it's lost?

Yes! There are over 50,000 microchip scanners in circulation in the country, providing many veterinarians and shelters the ability to get your pet's name and contact info as soon as possible.

Does a microchip replace ID tags and rabies tags?

It most definitely does not. Microchips are perfect for tamper-proof identification, but nothing replaces a collar with up-to-date ID tags. If a pet is wearing a collar with tags when it's lost, whoever finds it can easily contact the owner with the right information. But if a pet is not wearing a collar and tags, then a microchip is the only way the owner can be found.

Rabies tags should always be on a pet's collar, so people can easily see that they are vaccinated for the disease. However, if a veterinary hospital or county office is closed for the day, then it's harder to track down the owner. Microchip databases are online or can be accessed by phone 24/7 and 365 days a year!

Stream Valley highly recommends the use of HomeAgain microchips, as they've been successful in reuniting over 2 million pets! HomeAgain's call center has around-the-clock Lost Pet Specialists who send rapid Lost Pet Alerts to their Pet Recovery Network. Pet owners can also create Lost Pet Posters on their website. They also offer travel assistance for pets found more than 500 miles away from home.

When a pet becomes lost or missing, there's rarely a happy ending. A microchip is a simple, effective way you can increase the chances that you'll be reunited with your beloved companion. We'll even register it for you. Call us today at (703) 723-1017 and ask about microchipping your family pet!



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