Monday, March 9, 2009

Microchips & Pets

Here’s one more thing to add to your to do list: Check your pet’s microchip!

The latest issue of DVM Newsmagazine focused on one the newer the legal issues associated with microchipping pets – the failure of owners to update microchipping records. If you adopt a pet who has previously been microchipped that the information provided to the microchip company needs to be updated. Turns out, no surprise, that lots of folks (including yours truly) don’t update that information. So, when a pet shows up for a veterinarian appointment and the person with the pet doesn’t match the person the chip says should be with the dog what does a veterinarian do?

The American Veterinary Medical Association now says that a veterinarian with any question of legal ownership should postpone requested treatment until evidence of ownership is presented, unless treatment is necessary to “maintain the health of the animal, to preserve its life or protect public health. “ To avoid this hassle, take a moment to ensure that you’ve updated your information with the appropriate microchip company.

Your Dog, a great newsletter published by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, recently warned about microchip migration. This is when the microchip which was originally implanted between pet’s shoulder blades somehow migrates to another area on the pet’s back. While not a big deal, if someone doesn’t look for the chip beyond the shoulder blade area – they won’t find a migrated chip and you won’t get the call that someone has found your dog. If the chip has moved too far, Your Dog advocates re-chipping. To find out if that’s the case, ask your veterinarian scan for the chip periodically to ensure that the chip has not migrated.

On the good news front, three of the microchip companies can now read other frequencies. This used to be a big deal – sort of the beta – vhs fight in the microchip world with the pet owner being the loser.

We at Pet Camp have long advocated that pets be microchipped. We’ve supported Friends of San Francisco Animal Care & Control’s efforts to microchip San Francisco’s dogs and cats by both working at microchipping clinics and hosting a cat only microchipping clinic at Pet Camp Cat Safari. Working with Vet SOS, we’ve assisted in microchipping the pets of San Francisco’s homeless population. Check Friends website to see when the next clinic will be offered.

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