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Confused about microchips – which is best?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

A while back we implanted microchips in our 3 dogs. I am not sure if we really every got them properly registered or not. If we did, our information would be out of date anyway. I went online, and to my frustration, I have found place after place that claims to be the ultimate pet microchip registry, avid, homeagain, petwatch, etc. Bottom line, who are the shelter / police / animal welfare people going to call if they find my dogs? Who is the safest place to register my dogs with? I have searched everywhere any have not found any meaningful answers to this very important question.

Thank You,

Jamie Dolan - Neenah, Wisconsin


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email Jamie. You are right; the microchip registry can be confusing. The problem began ages ago when some chips were not readable with other companies' scanners. We have an article about this but I'll try to summarize the prior problem.

AVID® and Home Again® microchips read on a frequency of 125 khz and have been commonly used in veterinary hospitals and shelters across the United States. Each company has universal scanners that can identify chips from each other as well as other microchip companies that create chips that are also 125 khz. Controversy involving microchips exists because one company (Banfield®) introduced a chip that was 134.2 khz and incompatible with other readers. Therefore, pets chipped with Banfield® microchips could not be identified with the most common microchip scanners on the market in the U.S. Banfield has since stopped selling the undetectable microchips in their clinics. Recently, Home Again® announced a new scanner that will read all 125 kHZ microchips and detect 134 kHz chips.

I think now that all of the above companies are good. AVID and Homeagain are great. Some areas of the country seem to have more of one chip than others. I'd see what chip is used most commonly in your area.

The MOST important things you can do if you get your pet microchipped is to have it registered to YOU and keep your data current. This requires an additional fee but it is worth it. Otherwise the chip is registered to your vet or humane society (whoever implanted it) and if they are closed, your pet will not be reunited with you until they can contact that business. In the meantime, you may be frantically searching for your dog and it is at some vet hospital that is also closed and won't reopen until Monday when they contact your vet to find you.

It is recommended that you use an identifier on your pets collar indicating that he or she has a microchip and what kind.

Also, an annual visit to the veterinarian specifically to test the microchip is recommended. Have your veterinarian scan your pet to determine if the chip is still transmitting data.

Annually confirm your pet's information with the microchip database and ensure that all contact information including your address, home and cell phone numbers, email address, and pager number, etc are all current.

An article that might be helpful to you is Microchipping Your Dog.

Best of luck!


Dr. Jon


P.S. What do the rest of you think about microchips? Have you had any good or bad experience? Has a microchip helped you to be reunited with your pet? email me





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