Archived Story

Lost and found: ID your pets

Published 9:31pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Whether to be called an owner, guardian or parent, it all means the same thing. We are responsible for our companion animals, and we do what we can to care for and protect them.
However, usually out of our control, our animals can get away from us. If they run away chasing a squirrel through the woods or the gate was accidently left open, whatever the situation, you have lost your pet. You can only hope that your pet was wearing its ID tags and that they are found safe and sound by a good Samaritan who will return your animal to you.
Although ID tags are the primary means of identification used by pet owners, these tags are frequently forgotten, not updated, don’t have enough information or fall off the collar. The collar itself may also come off, especially with cats that wear breakaway safety collars. The solution to this dilemma was the implantable microchip.
The microchip implant is an integrated circuit about the size of a large grain of rice and uses passive radio frequency identification technology. This implant is placed under the skin in various locations depending on the animal and acts as a permanent form of ID.
Since the introduction of the pet microchip, other uses have been discovered, including dog and cat doors that open to your pet’s specific microchip. However, many organizations promote microchips as a primary means of identification since tags can easily be removed or switched with another animal. Animal shelters, animal-control officers and veterinarians routinely scan for a microchip if the animal is reported as a stray or if they suspect theft.
In Beaufort County, all veterinary hospitals provide a microchip service for a small fee. Beaufort County Animal Control includes a microchip with every dog or cat adoption. Depending on the manufacturer of the microchip, some do not require an additional registration or
annual fee while others do have additional fees. Call your regular veterinarian or animal shelter to check what types of fees are associated with the microchip.
Microchips facilitate a faster response to return lost pets back to their owners since it provides the contact information and medical needs for the animal on the manufacturer’s secure website. As long as the microchip is registered and kept up to date, you can expect a timely reunion with your lost pet.
Boorus Yim, DVM, MS, BS, is associate veterinarian at Pamlico Animal

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