Immunizing Against Homelessness – The Microchip

Losing your pet can be a heartbreaking experience that can involve endless searching, sign posting and repeated phone calls to shelters. Moreover, this time consuming and heart wrenching process can yield little results, a fact to which far too many distraught pet owners will attest.

In recent times, many methods have been proposed for keeping track of our erstwhile “fur babies.” Some pets are tattooed for nationwide identification, for example, while city license tags aid in local IDs. While these measures are helpful, they may not always be practical. Collars or tags might come off (occasionally, in our house they aren’t worn), or tattoos can be altered or, in the case of ear tattoos, they can be completely cut off.

Microchipping your pet is sometimes affectionately known as “immunizing against homelessness” and is the foolproof method of losing your furry friend altogether. Micro-chipping is no more painful than a yearly vaccination. A tiny capsule, not much bigger than a grain of rice, is injected into the nape of your pet’s neck. Veterinarians and shelters have a scanner that can read the digital number on the chip inside the capsule. If your micro-chipped pet is picked up as a stray, a simple phone call to the respective microchip company (also identified on the chip) will provide the finder with the relevant information to ensure that your pet will soon be home safe and sound.
A microchip is permanent; it cannot be cut off nor altered externally.

Having worked in the veterinary practice for many years, I’d like to offer up the following plea: IT PAYS TO GET YOUR PET MICRO-CHIPPED. This simple process will end the heartbreak, the agony, and the worries associated with lost ID’s and forgotten collars and leave you with a sense of security. Your small friends will overcome the language barrier with a simple technological advance when and where it’s needed most.


Will micro-chipping hurt my pet?
No more so than the annual battery of vaccines most animals need.

How easy is it to change the information if I move?
A simple phone call to the microchip company is all it takes. Some companies even provide an form that may be filled out online.

Will the microchip stay in place?
There have been a few cases of the microchip migrating, but this is a very rare occurrence. In any case, most facilities will run the scanner over the entire animal.

Where can I get my pet micro-chipped?
Any veterinarian office and some humane societies will either perform the simple procedure or recommend someone who will.

What kind of information will my pet’s microchip reveal?
This really depends on your comfort level. You’ll need to supply your name, animal’s name, address, phone number, etc You can make certain that an emergency contact number is the only information that shows up on the scan. Some services will allow you to specify serious medical conditions if necessary to the pet’s health.

by Cindy A McManus, MT, VT