2013-05-17 / Columnists

The Veterinary Corner

Microchipping Your Pet
Dr. Jay Rogoff and Dr. Allan Simon

As summer approaches, so can the likelihood that pets will go missing. Vacation travel, noisy holiday celebrations like the Fourth of July, and open windows and screen doors all contribute to pets becoming separated from their families. In fact, one in three pets will go missing during their lifetime. Without proper identification, 90 percent of these pets will never return home. While it is important for all pets to wear a collar and tags, these can fall off, be removed or even altered.

At the Animal Hospital of the Rockaways we use the Home Again Pet Recovery Service. It has helped reunite more than one million lost pets since 1996. In February, 2012, it celebrated its one millionth reunion when a dog named Chewie was reunited with his family in California after being gone for more than a year and a half.

Chewie had gone missing in 2010 while the family was living in Arizona. When they moved to California a year later they had no hopes of ever seeing him again. If it hadn’t been for Chewie’s microchip and the microchip’s registration being up to date, that may not have been the case.

A microchip is a simple and permanent form of identification, no larger than a grain of rice, which is implanted between a pet’s shoulders by a veterinarian. The process is similar to a routine vaccination and takes only a few seconds. The cost of microchipping is reasonable. This one-time cost includes the microchip implantation and registration of the microchip.

Once the microchip is implanted in your pet, the microchip should be registered with a national pet recovery database, such as HomeAgain® Pet Recovery Service (homeagain.com).

All pet and owner contact information should be kept up-to-date to ensure that an owner can be contacted in the event their lost pet is found. If your lost pet is brought to a veterinary facility or shelter, they use a scanning device to read the chip. They then can telephone the registered owner so the lost animal can be returned.

At the Animal Hospital of the Rockaways we have had the unfortunate experience of people bringing in animals they have found and when researching the chip found that the owner has moved and not updated their information.

Losing a pet can be emotionally devastating for a family. Make sure to take precautions during the summer months and while vacationing or traveling. Review your safety measures at home, like backyard fencing, and keep an eye on pets during holiday celebrations. If a pet does go missing, a microchip can be invaluable in making sure your furry friend is returned home.

Talk to your veterinarian about this simple and effective way to increase pet safety and visit homeagain.com for more information or visit us at 114-10 Beach Channel Drive for free booklets and information.

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