Tag: microchips

A missing pet

samantha-window
Window sills are one of Samantha’s favorite spots.

Even the most diligent of pet owners has lost a pet, if only for a few minutes. No matter how long they are gone the feeling is not a good one.
I had that feeling today. We are having work done on the house and the door from the kitchen into the garage was being replaced. I came home from work about 3 p.m. to find my contractors busy at work, my husband in his office, and Kodi and Buddy in their crates.

“Where’s Samantha?”

Samantha is our cat (or rather, my cat who sits on my husband’s  lap while we watch T.V.) The answer, “I don’t know,” wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

The search began. I was pretty sure my indoor kitty wouldn’t have willingly headed into all of the noise of saws, hammers and strangers going on in my garage that day, but I really needed to see she was safe for my own peace of mind.

So we searched all of her favorite spots, window sills, behind furniture, under blankets — she was nowhere to be found. I even looked in the garage – nothing.

I had to leave for a meeting so after about 15 minutes of searching I called a former co-worker at our local humane society to make a lost pet report. Samantha is chipped and that is generally the first thing any humane society or veterinarian scan for.  While I was on the phone, my husband called out that he had found her in a back bedroom.

She had found her place to sit out the ruckus in the open area between the wall and the storage/headboard in the guest room we have been sleeping in while we wait for our room to be carpeted. After my husband spotted her, she dashed under a sofa futon in the same room.

Sure I could believe him, but I needed to see her for myself. So down on the floor I went, peering under the futon, and looking back at me was Samantha.

This was a reminder that when workmen or guests are in your house, find accommodations for your cat, especially if doors are going to be opened.

The furthest Samantha usually ventures it out onto the pool deck and she is very easy to capture. If her heart was in it, she’d be much harder to bring back in.

This also demonstrates why even indoor cats (and I personally think they all should be indoor cats) should have identification. Collars can get caught or removed. Micro chips are the best chance you have of getting your feline back.

Microchips

I am the Volunteer Manager at a large humane society as part of my duties I train volunteers.

One of the first things we do is take a tour of the shelter with the first stop being intake. This is the area where every animal comes into the shelter and is examined. The staff is checking the animal out to see if medical care is immediately needed and for a microchip.

Micro chip readers are universal and can read micro chips from different micro chip manufacturers. This machine could make the difference in getting you and your pet reunited.
Micro chip readers are universal and can read micro chips from different micro chip manufacturers. This machine could make the difference in getting you and your pet reunited.

I explain to the class that only about 5 percent of the animals brought into the shelter have a microchip implanted and most of those are the ones we gave the animal when it was adopted or treated at our outreach clinic.

Some of the myths about microchips are:

A. They have GPS. They do not.

B. All of the owners information is vulnerable. It is not.

C. It hurts the animal. Nope.

Microchips are no larger than a grain of rice and are injected just under the skin between the shoulder blades. They can migrate under the skin which is why when an animal is being scanned for a microchip the Vet or Vet Tech should run the hand held device all over the animal not just between the shoulder blades. This does not hurt the animal just a bit of a pain for the person trying to locate it.

If a microchip is detected a series of numbers displays on the scanner screen. This is the number the vet tech will read out to whichever company registered the chip. The only people with this access are veterinarians, shelters and qualified animal care individuals.

GPS might be a neat thing, it would certainly be easier to find your pet but microchips do not track your animal (or your) movements.

Microchips are an excellent form of identification. While there have been rare occasions when they have fallen out, they are the best form of identification and quickest way to get your pet back home. These don’t replace tags but generally people do put personal information, phone number, on their tags. Tags also are more likely to fall off.

Microchip 2

The dog is scanned for a micro chip.  Like most dogs that come into shelters. this one did not have a micro chip.
The dog is scanned for a micro chip. Like most dogs that come into shelters. this one did not have a micro chip.

Microchips should be checked on a regular basis and before you are going on a trip, or leaving your dog with someone. Most vet offices don’t mind if you stop in and have your dog or cat scanned. It is also important to ask your vet to check your pet’s chip during vet visits.

All the scan will do is verify the chip is still in place. It is up to you to keep the information current. You can call the company to update and verify information. There will probably be a nominal, one-time charge for any changes, but knowing your pet is properly registered is well worth the expense in my opinion.