Every week, the staff at Carter County Animal Hospital receives calls from heartbroken owners looking for their lost pet. After taking a detailed description of the pet, we ask if the pet has a microchip. Sadly, the majority of lost pets have not been “chipped.” Also, the majority of stray/found dogs that are brought in to our hospital have not been microchipped. More pets die from not being identified than from all infectious diseases combined. Having your pet microchipped is an easy way to ensure that your pet has permanent identification. Tags fall off collars, collars fall off dogs, but a microchip is permanent. HomeAgain also insures microchipped pets for up to $3,000 should they get injured while lost.
CCAH uses the HomeAgain microchip. This is an in-expensive way to have your pet identifiable if found. Microchips are a tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice that has an identification number programmed into it. The microchips are placed under the skin of your pet, usually between the shoulder blades using a hypodermic needle. The process is quick and no more painful than a vaccination. The chip has a unique number, cannot get lost and it lasts a lifetime. If your animal was found by someone and taken to an animal hospital, thehumane society or animal control, your pet would be scanned for a microchip to see who the owner is. The owner’s name and address are available on a database so the pet can be returned quickly and safely if lost. Here at CCAH, we feel that every pet should be microchipped. It only takes seconds for a door to be cracked, your back to be turned or a gate to be left open for your pet to disappear. While many pets don’t roam far and can find their way back, this is often not the case. The microchip guarantees that your pet is identifiable if found. It is not a tracking device. It serves as a way for your pet to be identified with who he/she belongs to.
What is the HomeAgain® microchip?
The HomeAgain® microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it. The chip is encased in a smooth, strong biocompatible glass, and is small enough to fit into a hypodermic needle. Once an animal is injected with the chip, he can be identified throughout his life by this one-of-a-kind number. His identification cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed.
How does the microchip work?
The microchip is generally injected deeply under the skin. It sits safely there, totally inert. A special scanner is used to send a radio signal through the skin of the animal to read the chip. The animal feels nothing as the scanner is passed over him. The microchip sends its number back to the scanner.
How long does the microchip last?
The microchip has no power supply, battery, or moving parts. It is designed with an operating life of over 25 years and is guaranteed for the life of the animal. Once injected, the microchip is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it. The chip requires no care. It does not pass through or out of the body.
How does the scanner work?
The HomeAgain® scanner sends a safe radio wave signal to the microchip. When the chip receives this signal, it sends data (the microchip number) back to the scanner to be displayed in a viewing window. The scanners emit helpful audible beeps, display descriptions of actions in progress, and have a low battery message. Small handheld scanners are held close to the implant site while scanning. They have a reading range of about 3 inches. Larger, more powerful scanners can be used for various commercial and research applications. Read ranges vary from 6 to 20 inches depending upon specifications.
Does the procedure hurt the animal?
Although the microchip needle is larger than a typical vaccine needle, the general rule is this…your animals will react the SAME way to this shot as they do to any other. No better, no worse. Animals do not over react to it. Their physical performance is not impaired and there is no scarring. You are not injecting any substance that can burn or irritate; the chip is completely biocompatible and non-offensive.
Does the animal have to be sedated for the injection?
No! Injecting the HomeAgain® microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anesthesia is not required although we can place microchips while under anesthesia.
Could my animal be allergic to the chip?
The HomeAgain® microchip is inert, smooth and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergy or trying to reject the microchip after being properly injected.
Can the microchip move around once inside the body of the animal?
When properly implanted, a small layer of connective tissue forms around the microchip, preventing movement or migration of the chip. Instructions and injection sites will vary depending upon the specie. As with any brand of chip, HomeAgain® microchips will not migrate if instructions are followed and implantation is correct.
If the animal shelter picks up one of my animals, how do they know to call HomeAgain?
Animal shelters and animal control officers have been educated and informed about microchip identification and how it works. Shelters use industry-wide, cross-compatible scanners that read all chips operating at a certain frequency. Once a microchip is located in an animal, the appropriate steps are taken. If the animal is registered with HomeAgain’s Recovery System, the shelter will be given the owner’s name.
Where is the injection site in puppies?
Puppies are injected between the shoulder blades with a deep subcutaneous (under the skin) delivery of the chip.
How early can puppies be injected with the chip?
Most breeders inject the chip between the ages of five and eight weeks of age. Of course, the injection can also be done at any time after that.
Will the implanted microchip move or migrate?
You will have no problem with migration if you follow our instructions. HomeAgain® microchips are sealed with a special smooth coating. This coating, once in contact with body fluids and subcutaneous tissue, helps the microchip stay where you put it.
In the show ring, can the microchip be felt by the judge’s hands?
No. When the chip is properly implanted deeply under the skin, no one will be able to locate the chip by touch, even in tiny breeds.
How many brands of chips are there? Can shelters read the HomeAgain® chip?
Microchips operate by sending and receiving radio wave signals. Therefore they function at a particular frequency. In theUnited States the accepted and used radio wave frequency is 125 kHz. The chips most commonly used in the United Statescompanion animal industry are AVID® and HomeAgain. Shelters know and trust these microchip companies to provide fast recovery services for lost pets.
In the mid 90’s, shelter groups asked microchip companies to provide shelters with a “universal” scanner that could read both chips. Since then, rescue groups, shelters and humane societies can use a single scanner to detect any microchip.