Microchipping-Reuniting Pets with Owners

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One of the scariest things that can happen to a pet owner is when their pet gets lost or goes missing. It can happen quickly and very easily. Once the realization that you’re pet has gone missing sets in it can be absolutely terrifying.  Annie here and I would like to talk about a way that can help bring your dog or cat home to you a lot faster, by microchiping.  Here at the hospital we have heard many tales of how having a microchip helped reunite pets with our owners.  We have also seen many cases of stray animals brought in by good Samaritans who did not have any sort of identification or a microchip. They are far less likely to be returned to their loving homes and are more likely to be admitted into shelters.   Today I would like to tell you about two separate stories where a microchip helped reunite families with their beloved pets.

The first story involves a cat named Skittles. Skittles is a rescue kitty that is very enamored with his mom but not so happy around anyone else. He tends to hide when strangers come over and prefers when his home is quiet and empty. After finishing his vaccination series his mom’s veterinarian suggested that they consider getting him microchipped despite the fact that he is an indoor only kitty. She stressed the importance of a microchip because if he ever got outside of the house this microchip would help reconnect him with his owner. The doctor also mentioned that Skittles does not wear a collar so the microchip would be his only form of identification in case he ever got lost. Skittles got his microchip the same day.  He and his mom were surprised to find out how quick and easy it was to receive his chip, he barely moved when the needle was inserted to place the chip.

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Fast-forward a year later Skittles and his mom moved into a new apartment. This apartment was a lot bigger and noisier which scared and confused him. One day the back door was accidentally left open and he decided to venture outside. Once outside he panicked and took off much to his mom’s dismay when she discovered the open door and the missing cat. She knew that being a fearful cat he would be less likely to go up to people and imagined how scared and alone he must feel. Skittle’s mom made flyers, called local veterinary hospitals and shelters as well as called the microchip company. The microchip was a Homeagain chip. She informed them of his disappearance. For three months she continued this process of calling and placing flyers until she started to lose hope of every finding her cat.  Then finally at the end of that third month she received a call that she had been so desperately waiting to hear, Skittles had been found! Someone had brought a skinny stray that they found outside their house (which was only a few short blocks away from his mom’s home) to a local shelter where he was scanned for a microchip. His chip number popped up which was tied to his mom’s contact information and enabled the shelter workers to quickly give his mom the call she had been waiting for. When he had first left his home he weighed around 11 pounds and when his mom came to pick him up she was shocked at his 7 pound frame. She felt the anguish he must have gone through looking for food and shelter during this ordeal. She also felt overwhelming joy that she had gotten that microchip and was thus able to be reconnected with her furry family member.  Today Skittles is happy and healthy back in his 11 pound frame. He doesn’t venture outside much but his mom feels secure in knowing that if he does then he will carry his identification with him.

Cats are less likely than dogs to be reunited with their owners because not only are they less likely to wear collars or identification tags but they also tend to hide and run away from people wanting to help just like Skittle’s did. Local shelters are always overwhelmed with numbers of stray cats and kittens that they receive on a daily basis. This leads to the unfortunate possibility that an owned cat that has gone missing can wind up at a shelter. Unfortunately then some are euthanized after they exceed the end of their time limit at a shelter. At Stow Kent Animal hospital we suggest that all cats become microchipped, even ones that remain indoors all the time because as the story above showed all it takes is an accidental door being left open for a cat to get lost.

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There are many stories similar to these ones but the last we would like to share with you is about Brownie, he is a dog whose favorite pastime is to run.  Unfortunately for his family however once he starts running there is no stopping him which can be very difficult when trying to prevent him from getting lost. After rescuing him from a local pound one of the first things they did was take him to their veterinarian where he got his microchip. Brownie’s family hoped that they would never have to worry about him getting lost and took every precaution to keep him on a short leash whenever they went out. Over the 4th of July they decided to take him on vacation to a lake house. Not having the dog for more than a few months they did not know how terrified of fireworks he would be.  They put him on a tie out at the far end of the property away from the noise of the fireworks with his blanket and cage so he had a place to hide if need be. After the short firework show they went to check on their dog and realized that he had broken his tie out and collar and he was nowhere to be found. Not only was their dog running loose but he had no collar or tags since he had broken free of them. His family was not from the area so they had no idea who to call or where to even begin looking which is when the panic set in. While part of the family drove around calling his name the other family member called their microchip provider Homeagain for help. Even though it was nearly midnight there was someone to answer the phone that then was able to send out flyers to all local shelters and veterinary hospitals within a 40 mile radius. After a very restless night the family awoke the next day to start their search again. Later that afternoon however they received a phone call from a local veterinary hospital that had scanned Brownie as well as saw his lost pet alert flyer that had been faxed to them by Homeagain. The family was overwhelmingly excited as well as shocked at how fast they were able to be reunited with their pet.

Dogs are more likely to wear collars and identification such as name tags, rabies tags and dog licenses all of which are helpful at reuniting you with your pet, however there are many reasons why a microchip can provide another layer of protection and comfort if they were to become lost.  When you choose to register with your microchip provider you can have options to set up a costume profile for your pet that can list your veterinarian in case of emergency or list any medical conditions.  It gives you the option to send out pet alerts when they go missing 24 hours a day.

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Like it was stated above a microchip can be placed at any time by your local veterinarian.  The microchip is small about the size of a grain of rice. The biggest maintenance that comes with having a microchip is keeping your information current. It is important if a number or address changes that you quickly update your information. It is also important to post a clear and current picture of your pet on their profile. There is also an option to post any significant characteristics that make your pet unique to help reunite your pet.  After the chip is placed your veterinarian can show you how the scanner reads the chip. It only involves scanning the pet which is painless and the identification number appears on the screen. Then you can contact the chips provider and they will contact the owners and help you reunite the pet as quickly as possible. Many of the chips are universal and can be picked up by any scanner. When found pets are brought into the hospital one of the first things the staff does is scan them, this should be true of any shelter as well. Remember it only takes an accident for your pet to slip out and become lost so consider if a microchip is right for you and your pet(s).

That’s all for today, talk to you soon!

-Annie

Stow Kent Animal Hospital

P.S. I am proudly microchipped!

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microchip blog-annie

For More Information Please Visit: http://public.homeagain.com/

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