Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Microchips Aren't Magic

For years now, most of us dog writers have been recommending that people have their dogs microchipped for the most secure identification. So it is extremely disheartening to read a report in the November 1 edition of JAVMA (the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assocation) stating that many pet owners have their animals microchipped but then never register the microchips with a registry. Maybe some people have the mistaken impression that a microchip is some sort of homing device, like a GPS constantly tuned to their home address?
The report stated that a survey of shelters turned up 1,943 animals that were microchipped, but only 58.1% of those animals were registered so that the owners could be located and contacted. For 9.8% even the veterinarian who had implanted the chip had not reported to the registry.
So obviously veterinarians need to do a better job on two fronts: First, they need to register the microchip when they implant it, and second, they need to impress upon the animals' owners the importance of registering their own information. Without the appropriate information given to the registry, the microchip is useless.
And not only does the contact information have to be given to the registry, it has to be given afresh any time it changes. So if owners move, they have to contact the registry and update their information. That seems like an easier one to forget. Is all your contact information current for your microchipped pets?

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