To Chip or Not to Chip? Is this Really STILL a Question?

January 23, 2010

Recently, one of my favorite magazines, "Dog World", recently had an informative article on microchipping pets. If you're still on the fence about whether microchipping your dog is worth the $50 - $75 it typically costs, maybe the following article will help you decide:

Pets with microchips have a much greater chance of being reunited with their owners, a new study showed. Researchers found that the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was 2 1/2 times higher than the rate of return for all stray dogs that had entered animal shelters.

"This is the first time there has been good data about the success of shelters finding the owners of pets with microchips," says the study's lead author Linda Lord, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D., an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University in Columbus. "We found that shelters did much better than they thought they did at returning animals with microchips to their owners."

In the study, 53 shelters in 23 states kept monthly records about microchipped dogs and cats that were brought to the facilities. In all, owners were found for 72.7 percent of microchipped animals. Lord's findings were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (July 15, 2009, Vol. 235, No. 2).

Veterinarians implant the microchip - about the size of a grain of rice - under the skin between the pet's shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique number that is revealed when the pet is scanned by a microchip detector. The number corresponds with the pet owner's contact information, which they provide when they register with the chip manufacturer.

"In the study, the biggest reason owners couldn't be found was because of an incorrect or disconnected phone number in the registration database," Lord says, adding that pet owners can also list the number with third-party registries, such as the American Animal Hospital Association's microchip website (http://petmicrochiplookup.org/). "The chip is only as good as my ability as a pet owner to keep my information up to date in the registry," Lord says.

* Thanks to Dog World magazine for the above article.
** Thanks to http://www.petsvcare.com/images/microchippic.jpg for providing the above picture.

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