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Microchipping helps pets get home

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An opportunity to participate in a $20 reduced fee microchip clinic will be offered at the 2011 Dog Jog April 16. Veterinarians from the Animal Clinic of Los Alamos and Ridgeview Veterinary Hospital have donated their time and expertise to implant the microchips. The fee includes the registration of the microchip to a database that can be read by shelters and veterinary clinics throughout the United States. No sign is up required ahead of time, just stop by Chamisa School in White Rock from 9:00-10:30 am. The clinic is open to the public, even if you aren’t registered for the Dog Jog.
There are several reasons for microchipping a pet, but the most common reason is the improved chance that the animal will be returned if it becomes lost or stolen. Disasters where animals become displaced, pets becoming lost when left in the company of a sitter, dogs that run away during thunderstorms or Fourth of July fireworks, or auto accidents, are all times when an animal can become lost.
A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. It is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle and is no more painful than a typical injection, although the needle is slightly larger than those used for injections. No surgery or anesthesia is required. No maintenance is needed, although owners do have to keep their contact information current in the microchip registration database. Ideally, the microchip should be scanned during the animal’s yearly checkup, to make sure that it is still in place and working as it should.
When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things staff do is look for a microchip. The microchip transmits an identification number to a scanner. If a microchip is found, and if the microchip registry has accurate information, they can quickly find the animal’s owner. The microchip databases are online or telephone-accessed databases, and are available 24 hours a day, 365 a year.
Microchips also provide permanent identification that is tamper-proof, but nothing replaces a collar with up-to-date identification tags. A pet’s rabies tag should always be on its collar, so people can quickly see that the pet has been vaccinated for the disease.