Posts Tagged ‘microchip’

When Microchipping Matters Most

June 13, 2011

I just read a story about a dog named Hanah who was displaced from her family during the recent tornado that terrorized Joplin, Missouri. There have been a couple of post-tornado Hanah sightings, but to date, she’s yet to be reunited with her anxious and devastated family.   The Good Samaritan photos taken of Hanah show this adorable looking dog without a collar, and her owners report that she has not been microchipped.   My heart sank when I read this.  As far as I’m concerned, a microchip would have increased the likelihood of a happy ending to this story more than anything else.

Let this be a wake-up call to all of us about the importance of microchipping our pets.  Far and away a microchip is the best insurance policy possible for reuniting lost pets with their families.  Bear in mind that implanting the microchip is the easy part. The more difficult part is making sure that you and the professional who places the microchip get it registered properly.  What good is the microchip if its number is not associated with accurate owner contact information?  And when you move or change telephone numbers, remember to update the microchip registry.  As I reported in a previous blog, the microchip failure rate has everything to do with inadequate updating of registry information.

I hope you will read Hanah’s story and share it with all the dog lovers you know with hopes that she will be returned to the people who love her.   If I receive any Hanah updates I will certainly let you know.  If your pets are not microchipped, please call your veterinarian or local shelter right away to set up an appointment to do so. If your pet is microchipped, contact the registry to ensure that your contact information is up to date.  One never knows what life has in store for us and our pets!

Do you know of a story where a microchip saved the day?  If so, I’d love to hear it.

Best wishes for good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

 

Will Your Pet’s Microchip Bring Him Home?

November 3, 2009

Other than hanging identification tags on collars, I’ve always thought (and advised my clients) that microchipping our dogs and cats is the best way to ensure that we will be reunited should circumstances separate us. As it turns out, microchipping is not nearly so foolproof as I’ve believed- not because the chips are defective, but rather, because of human error.  Have a look at what I just read in the November 1st edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)

“A limitation of the microchip registry system is than many pet owners do not register microchips in their names according to ‘Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters’ (see JAVMA, July 15, 2009).  In that study, shelters contacted microchip registries regarding 1,943 animals but found registrations for only 58.1 percent.  The registries were unable to find any information on the owner or on the person who implanted the microchip for 9.8 percent of the animals. Among other recommendations, the study’s authors suggested that veterinarians and shelter personnel should not only register pet microchips at the time of implantation, but also remind the pets’ owners to update information in the registry. 

Jason Merrihew, American Animal Hospital Association spokesman said, educating pet owners is a key step to improve microchipping as a form of pet identification. ‘Every time that they change their address or change phone numbers, then they need to update that microchip information,’ Merrihew said.” 

So what does all this mean? Here’s the bottom line in terms of achieving the intended purpose of your pet’s identification microchip: At the time your dog or cat is microchipped, be sure to complete the registration materials and have them processed with the appropriate microchip registry.  Be sure your veterinarian (or whoever it is that implants the microchip) does the same.  Additionally, update that registry whenever your contact data (telephone number, address) changes.  I haven’t moved or changed my phone number (or my name!) in well over a decade, so my pets and I are in good shape.  How about you and yours? Will your lost dog or cat be able to find you again?  If you know your contact information is not current, or you are unsure, pick up the phone or go online today.  It could make all the difference. 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

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