Monday, February 27, 2012

Microchipping - bring your buddy home

Start talking about lost pets, and something happens. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but for a surprisingly large number of people, mention lost pets and they get a far-off, unhappy look in their eyes. And they’ll say something like,

“When I was a kid our dog slipped the leash and ran away,”


“We had a cat who got out the door and never came back.”

If you’re one of this number, you know exactly how this feels. And even if that pet vanished years ago, the memory of it still brings sadness. According to, one in three pets will get lost at some point in their lives. Without proper ID, 90% will never return home.

Of course, there are a few things that you can do to minimize the chances that your pet will get lost. A correctly fitted collar with tags, a secure backyard, etc. But there’s one thing that even conscientious pet owners often overlook; something that will ensure that your animal can be returned to you even if it loses its collar and hitchhikes to California: microchipping.

Because when pets get lost, they don’t just vanish. And contrary to popular belief, pets, especially cats, have a pretty decent shot of surviving on their own, at least long enough to find their way to a new friendly human. HSEC, Pitt County Animal Shelter, and other similar organizations take in hundreds of animals from this county every year. Many of those are just lost pets, animals that have a loving home they’ve become separated from.

Size of microchip

Microchips are a small implant, about the size of a grain of rice, that is usually inserted between a pet’s shoulder blades. The microchip is an identifying integrated circuit that can be read by a special wand. When a lost pet arrives at the HSEC, enters the shelter system, or is brought to a vet’s office, a wand is used to determine whether the animal has a microchip. And if they do - ta-da! - the pet can be quickly reunited with its owners.
It only hurts for a second!
Microchips significantly decrease the money the rescue group needs to spend on rehoming the animal, and increase the likelihood that your lost buddy will be found. If everyone microchipped their pet, numbers of animals in the shelter system would decrease dramatically. The procedure usually has few or no side effects and is only as painful as getting an ordinary vaccine. The cost is low, and in 99% of cases the microchip never has to be replaced.

After the chip is placed, the number must be registered in a database so the animal can be connected back to you. You should also have your vet scan for the chip at each check-up, to make sure that it is still in place. And please note that a microchip does NOT REPLACE external ID like a collar and tags.
Scanning for a microchip
Most veterinarians offer microchipping. And if you’d like to use this as an opportunity to help out HSEC, consider having your pet microchipped at our Canine Crawl event, Sunday, March 25th, 12-4 on the Town Common in Greenville. Canine Crawl will also feature a charity walk, vendors, an agility course, vet Q&A, dog wash, and even a doggie pageant, so there’ll be plenty to take your buddy’s mind off that little pinch in his back.

So please take some time to consider if microchipping is the right decision for your pet. It's not pleasant to think about your fuzzy friends getting lost, but a microchip could make all the difference in getting them back home.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. We've seen a lot of animals reunited with their people thanks tp microchipping...