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Microchip technology can offer peace of mind for pet owners

April 07, 2013
  • Microchips, which are inserted under an animal's skin, usually between the shoulder blades, by way of a quick injection help those in the animal welfare industry locate animals who get lost or run away.
Submitted photo

What is the advantage of having a pet microchipped and how does it work?

As warmer weather approaches, the risks of animals running away or getting lost can increase.

But a relatively new and quick procedure is available that can offer some peace of mind for pet owners.

It’s called microchipping, and Michael Lausen of the Washington County Humane Society said the tiny radio frequency identification chip has saved the lives of many lost animals.

“By us being able to reunite the animal, we can find out who the owner is and get them back home, and they’re less likely to be euthanized as an unwanted pet,” he said. “It’s designed to help return animals back home.”

The chip is inserted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades, by way of a quick injection, Lausen said, and then it stays with the animal for the rest of its life.

“If the animal gets loose or leaves from where its home of record is, anybody that’s in the animal welfare industry can use a scanner” to identify the animal, Lausen said.

Animal welfare officials have access to databases that contain information about millions of microchipped pets, he said.

A quick swipe of an electronic wand over a microchipped animal produces a number that is entered into the system, revealing its last known owner and address of record, as well as its registration of licenses and vaccinations.

“A collar comes off,” Lausen said. “The microchip stays with the animal.”

The largest microchip network, HomeAgain, has helped reunite more than 1.1 million animals to date, according to its website, www.homeagain.com.

Lausen encouraged all pet owners to consider having their animals microchipped, a procedure that can be done for a nominal fee at the humane society at 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown.

— Compiled by C.J. Lovelace

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