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Microchip Implants in Pets

microchip implant for catsImplantable microchips, also known as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, help identify and locate lost pets. A veterinarian or other animal health care specialists inject an identifying circuit underneath the skin of an animal, such as a dog, cat, horse, or parrot. The microchip, about the size of a large grain of rice, emits a radio frequency signal that transmits data to a special handheld device.

Implantable microchips have several uses and benefits for animal shelters and veterinarians. For instance, they can help the workers at these facilities identify any lost animals and return them to their owners. The majority of animal shelters, kennels, breeders, registries, trainers, rescue groups, farms, stables, animal clubs, and humane societies inject animals with implantable microchips. RFID technology has evolved to incorporate electronic equipment to activate when the pet approaches within a certain distance. For instance, there are pet doors that will open automatically when the pet gets near the door. Some countries have started to require microchip tagging of pets to keep track of vaccination records.

How Microchips Work

After verifying that your pet does not already have a chip, the veterinarian or technician will record the microchip's unique identification code into a database and inject the chip using a sterile syringe, usually just under the skin between the shoulder blades. The process is as quick as a routine shot, and the chip is completely harmless; your pet won’t even know it’s there.

The facility may conduct tests to ensure that the identification tag works properly. You will complete an enrollment form with your contact information. If your contact information ever changes, you’ll need to let your vet know so the form can be updated. The facility then sends the enrollment form to a registry, which may be the chip's manufacturer, distributor, or national database. You might be charged a small fee for being added to the registry. You’ll also receive a registration certificate or some other documentation in the mail or at the vet’s office.

Now if your pet is ever lost and then found and brought to a vet or shelter, the facility will scan your pet for a microchip and check the microchip databases for a match. The ID number on the chip will match the information on the form you filled out, allowing the facility to contact you about your lost pet.

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