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The microchip is the size and shape of a grain of rice.

What is a MICROCHIP ?

Microchips are rice-sized devices encoded with an identification number that can be read by a scanner and are used to track and identify your pet. A microchip is injected under the animal’s skin, much like a vaccination. It remains inactive until read with a scanner that sends a low radio frequency signal to the chip, which then sends its code information back to the scanner. In March, a bill was introduced in the California State Senate by State Sen. Jack O’Connell that would require dogs and cats to be chipped and the owner’s identification entered in a registry. England’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that all pets be implanted with microchips. Its web site points out that, while by law all dogs have to wear a tag on a collar, collars can break and identification tags get lost, while microchips serve as permanent identification. The RSPCA and many major U.S. animal shelters microchip animals before placing them in new homes.

Why Chip ?

What’s the advantage? If your pet gets lost, a handheld scanner – like the ones used at store checkout counters – can read the identification information in the chip and help reunite you with your buddy. The chip is the size and shape of a grain of rice. Veterinarians say these tiny chips are safe, and they dramatically increase the chances of finding lost pets. Indeed, says Dr. Jim Rummel, a veterinarian in Edinboro, Pa., the leading cause of death among pets is not disease, parasites or being injured – it's the euthanasia of lost pets who cannot be identified.

At first, it was just farmers who used the chips to help keep track of their livestock. They used an earlier, larger version of the chip, which usually was tagged onto the animal's ear. During the past few years, researchers have come up with smaller chips that are suitable for internal implantation, and pet owners have started lining up.

Today, more than a million pets are registered with either the American Kennel Club’s Companion Animal Recovery system (which uses the HomeAgain system) or American Veterinary Identification Devices. And more than 150,000 lost pets have been reunited with their owners through these systems.

The microchip has the advantage of permanence; collar and tags can be lost or removed. Some owners have tattooed their address or phone number, but this procedure takes longer and is more painful to your pet. In addition, if you move or change your phone number, the identification is useless.

How the Chips Work

The silicon chips can be inserted in almost any animal, including cats, dogs, horses, reptiles, birds and small mammals. The chip, which stores a numeric ID code, is fastened to a miniature antenna that transmits the radio signal containing the code. The silicon chip and antenna sit inside a tiny, hermetically sealed glass container.

The chips, technically called transponders, are injected between the shoulder blades through a needle. For birds, the chip is injected under the wing. The procedure, which takes less than 10 seconds, hurts about as much as a regular injection.

The electronic code corresponds to your contact information within a database. Unlike a tattoo, your contact information can be updated within the database if you move or change phone numbers (the chip does not have to be touched).

You should be aware that many chips are automatically registered to a shelter or animal hospital or breeder. This means the shelter or hospital or breeder will be contacted first, and they in turn contact you.

To bypass this, you need to register your information personally with AVID. Otherwise, if your the pet is found on a weekend, you may not know until Monday that she is safe. Many owners have spent anxiety-ridden weekends searching for a pet because no one was able to contact them directly when the pet was found.

No Side Effects

So far, there have been no side effects to the procedure. The microchips don’t have batteries that run out, or any other kind of internal power source for that matter, so you never need to replace parts. In fact, they're made to last longer than the pet's lifetime.

Most shelters, rescue organizations and veterinary hospitals have scanners. Many have a variety of scanners that correspond with the various microchip brands. Using a radio signal, the scanner can read the information on the chip in less than a second. The animal and the scanner must be in the same room – not like "Wild Kingdom," where animals are tracked at great distances. Staffers at the shelter can then get in touch with the pet owner or the veterinarian.

There are billions of possible codes, so it’s safe to say the chances are nil that you'll be reunited with someone else’s pet. Chips also are becoming popular in other countries. To help stem the huge stray dog population in Thailand, the government there recently launched a campaign to encourage dog owners to implant their four-footed buddies with the chips. And in Hong Kong, it is mandatory to have your dog microchipped.

We use AVID® microchips

What is the AVID® microchip?

A.V.I.D. stands for American Veterinary Identification Devices. The AVID® 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 it’s number back to the scanner. It appears in the viewing window as, for example, AVID 220*609*321.

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 AVID® 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. AVID® 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 AVID® microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anesthesia is not required or recommended.

Could my animal be allergic to the chip?

The AVID® 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.

If the animal shelter picks up one of my animals, how do they know to call AVID®?

Animal shelters and animal control officers have been educated and informed about microchip identification and how it works. The majority have universal AVID® scanners on hand and routinely scan lost pets. Once a microchip is located in an animal, the appropriate steps are taken. If the animal is registered with AVID's PetTrac™ Recovery System, the shelter will be given the owner's name. If the animal is not registered, they will be given the name of the veterinarian or the breeder who injected the microchip.