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How Microchips Work

It is unfortunate when you lose your beloved pet dog or cat because it somehow got loose and ran away from home. It is not easy to print ads and paste them all over hoping for strangers to contact you in case they have seen your pet. It is also not easy to spend an entire day going around looking for your pet only to come home empty-handed. No, it is not easy for any pet lover at all.

The microchip is not only implanted in dogs or cats. They are also implanted in cattle and farm animals like horses, goats, sheep and even birds.

A study in animal shelters have shown that a lot of pets do get separated from their owners. Although dogs have the instinct on returning home with or without the microchip, there are some that still does not. For cats, there is a lesser chance of them returning home when they do not have chips.

There is a good thing about this century and age of technology. Many veterinary institutions have recently created a kind of microchip that would be helpful for the pet and its owner and have introduced them to animal shelters, animal control officers and veterinarians as well. These microchips are mini electronic gadgets that are implanted inside your pet’s skin. This invention would be a great aid for owners to be reunited with their beloved feline or canine friends.

Countries like the United States, Australia, Northern Ireland, and Israel require the use of microchips especially in dogs since these countries widely keep dogs.

I’m pretty sure us pet lovers do not want to lose our furry companion. So, why not use microchips to easy locate them when they do get loose?

What are Pet Microchips?

To understand microchips better, they are actually implanted inside your pet. It is about the size of a grain of rice. These chips carry data that would send out radiofrequencies when scanned over. This would then display back a special identification number. This special identification number would then be cross-referenced to a database and would link it to the owner.

The chip is usually implanted in such a way that it would not hurt your pet. It is implanted during the administration of vaccine or other relevant shots at the vet or at the shelter. It is usually embedded inside the loose skin of your pet between the shoulder blades. This ensures that the chip does not fall off, removed, and will last during your pet’s lifetime since it is lodged inside your pet’s body.

What are the issues encountered in microchips?

Unfortunately, there are chances that these microchips may not be a 100% effective. While many pet owners have been able to locate their pets, others may not be so lucky. For the chips to be effective, it should be detected by the scanner. The identification number must be linked to the owner’s details.

The standard microchips that were first introduced in the United States only transmitted frequencies using 125-kilohertz (kHz) to 128-kilohertz. As a result, some microchip companies cannot read info from a different company. Other problems would include losing your pet when you bring them to a different country. International companies may or may not have created these gadgets yet. Even if they did, the frequencies transmitted in the microchips in the respective country may not be able to read the chip once it is scanned. International countries chip frequencies use 134.2 kHz so this may pose a problem for pet owners as well.

Often, the microchips may be difficult to detect because of factors like them lodged near the metal collar around your pet’s neck, or that the scanner may be used. Matted hair and excess body fat can also be a factor that the chip may fail.

Another factor that the chip would render ineffective is that when the owner fails to follow the registration requirements, or incorrect information that are submitted by the owner. When the owner also fails to update their details, the microchip still be useless. As it only displays a number during scanning, the number should then match the owner’s details inside the database.

Microchips Today

The invention of these microchips is actually still a work in progress because of the several lawsuits that were filed due to negligence in the part of the chip company and the pet owner. Many veterinary institutions are still putting these microchips undergo experimentations. Recently, the standard of frequencies that are now used is the 134.2 kHz to comply with the International Standard Organization. Right now, many companies are complying with that standard.

Unfortunately, while companies are adapting that radiofrequency, there are animal shelters that have not adapted to the standard. As a result, one case in a shelter had to euthanize a dog because the scanner couldn’t find and read the chip lodged inside.

Solutions to Microchip Problems

Getting these microchips to work is actually very simple even with its resounding issues. The owner needs to be proactive. The owner needs to reach out to the company and verify if all the details are accurate and mdern. It is also necessary to check in with your vet to ensure that the chip is still working and up to date. Another factor to consider for pet owners is to be wary of the frequencies used in the microchip in their pets. In the event that the owner should travel out of the country and your pet has a 125-kHz or 128-kHz chip, make sure that owners bring their own portable scanner to avoid not being able to detect your lost pet.

It’s all just a matter of also being responsible pet owners to avoid unforeseen circumstances when it comes to your pets. Again, we don’t want to feel the burden of losing our pets and not know where it has gone in the long run.

If you need a microchip for your pet in CT, contact us at United Veterinary Center – 203 957-3375!

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