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Owning a cat or a dog is a rewarding experience, but one that comes with some worry. You may wonder whether your pet will someday escape from your home or get lost on a trip. If you are a pet owner, microchipping can protect your pet and ensure peace of mind for you. Here are some of the most common questions we hear about this procedure at our Portland veterinary clinic.

What Are the Benefits of Microchips?

Some pets are wizards when it comes to disappearing. They wander off within seconds on a camping trip or vacation. They open doors that appear to be shut. An estimated 10 million U.S. dogs and cats are stolen every year. A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that just 20 percent of lost dogs that reached an animal shelter made it back to their families. However, more than half of microchipped dogs were reunited. While nearly 40 percent of lost microchipped cats in a shelter returned to their homes, fewer than 2 percent of those without this technology made it back to their families.

How Do Microchips Work?

The microchip implanted in your pet contains a very small radio-frequency transponder within a capsule. Each capsule has a unique number associated with it. When a staff member at our Portland veterinary clinic or at an animal shelter runs a scanner over your pet, the implanted chip emits a radio frequency with enough power to transmit the unique number. Since the number is linked to owner information, it is essential that owners of pets with microchips maintain updated contact information. Microchips do not function as GPS devices, nor do they store a pet’s medical information.

How Does Our Portland Veterinarian Implant a Microchip?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. Using a hypodermic needle, our Portland veterinarian injects it under your pet’s skin. The procedure is no more painful for your cat or dog than any other injection. Since it requires no anesthesia, our staff can perform the procedure during a wellness checkup or other visit.

Does This Technology Require Maintenance?

No. All you need to do after the procedure is register the microchip and make sure your contact information is always current in the registration database. Our staff will scan the microchip at each wellness checkup to make sure it is still in place.

Is There One Centralized U.S. Microchip Database?

No. Each manufacturer of pet microchips maintains its own database. All microchips are listed with the respective manufacturer registries. If your pet becomes lost but is recovered and scanned, the scanner will display the name of the manufacturer of the chip when it is read. The individual who performs the scan then contacts the manufacturer with the number of the microchip. If you have registered the microchip, the likelihood that your pet would not be identified from its number is quite low.

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