By Dr. Gino Sementa July 26, 2016

A microchip is a small oblong device about ½ cm long that is injected under the skin of our pets as a form of permanent identification.

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A special scanner is used to find the chip, which is usually placed between the shoulder blades.  Each microchip has its own unique code of letters and numbers, and this code is what shows up on the scanner.  The microchip company then uses this code to identify the pet.  A microchip is an affordable way to ensure that if your pet were to become lost that it has the best chance of being reunited with you.  Many animals coming from larger shelters already have a microchip implanted at the time of adoption.  If your pet does not have a microchip when he or she joins your family, Webster Veterinary Clinic happily offers this service to our clients and their pets.  A microchip is a permanent form of identification.  It cannot be lost like a collar and tag, and it cannot be easily removed by an individual who may find or steal a family pet.

You may be wondering how we get a microchip into your pet.  It is done by injecting the microchip under the skin with a needle, and takes just a few seconds to do.  The pet can be awake for the microchipping, or you may choose to have it done while the pet is under anesthesia for another procedure such as a spay or a neuter.  Once the microchip is implanted, you must go online and register all of your pet’s information with the company.  There is a small fee for the registration.  It is important to remember that if your information changes, such as if you move or change your phone number, that you contact the microchip company to have the information updated!  You can also assign an alternate contact person, like a family member or friend, who may be contacted if the company does not have your correct information.  The company will also have the contact information of the veterinarian who implanted the chip, and this can sometimes be helpful to find the family of a lost pet.

So far this summer, Webster Veterinary Clinic has had 2 cases of stray animals being brought into the clinic, and when scanned we found them to have microchips in place!  It is our policy to scan any “stray” animal that is brought into our clinic, with the hope that we can reunite the lost pet with their family. Here is a story about “Mr. Orange”, and how a microchip helped us to find his owner, and a new loving home.  Mr. Orange was a stray cat that had been hanging around the home of one of our clients.  She had been feeding him for a while, and decided to take him in, as it seemed that he did not have a home.  She brought him into the clinic for an exam, and we found that he had a microchip.  We entered his microchip number into a website, and contacted the company for his particular microchip.  We were able to find out that this cat had been microchipped at Lollypop Farm, and got the name of the person that had originally adopted him.  We contacted that person, who had given the cat to a friend and had no idea that the friend no longer had the cat.  Ultimately the original owner of Mr. Orange decided to let our client keep him, and was happy to hear that he had found a good home and a new owner who loved him and wanted to take care of him.  A second similar story occurred with another cat who is now a member of the Webster Veterinary Clinic family.  This cat ran away from his original owner and disappeared.  The owners feared that he had been killed, as they were never able to find him.  4 years after he ran away, he ended up coming to Webster Veterinary Clinic for a stray cat exam.  A family found him as a stray and wanted to keep him, but when we scanned him we discovered that he had a microchip.  We were able to find his original owner, who was relieved to find out that after all of these years he was in fact alive and well!  It gave the original owner peace of mind to know that their cat who ran away 4 years ago was able to survive on his own, and find a new home.  The original owner decided to let this new family keep him, and he has been a regular visitor to us ever since, happy in his new home.

So, if your pet does not already have a microchip, and you are interested in getting one please give us a call!  We as pet owners never want to think that our beloved pet would run away or become lost or stolen but in reality these things can happen.  If this does happen to you, a microchip can give you the peace of mind that if your pet is found and brought to a veterinarian for care, there is a good chance he or she will be scanned and reunited with you!

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