Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Value of Microchipping

There is a lot of discussion about whether or not microchipping is an effective tool for reuniting lost pets with their owners. We here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic do believe it is a very valuable tool and advocate microchipping. In fact, we include a Home Again microchip registration and one year of premium registration with our kitten packages. And of course, we have mentioned the importance in several of our blogs.

We chose Home Again as our microchip partner because they offer a number of benefits to pet owners enrolled in the premium membership including a strong support system to help if your cat gets lost, pet health insurance if your cat is injured while he or she is lost, as well as much more. More importantly, when your kitty is microchipped with Home Again, he or she is registered for life, whether or not you decide to continue the premium membership. And they allow for updating registration information, such as address or phone numbers, at any time through their website: www.homeagain.com.

We recently ran across an abstract on a study conducted by the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University to research the effectiveness of microchips in returning lost animals to their owners. We found the conclusion very interesting. Basically, the study concluded that while the number of animals returned to their owners due to microchips supports its promotion and use, the registration issues continue to undermine the system. If your kitty has a microchip, please make sure to check the information the registry has on file for you is current and up-to-date.

The actual statistics of the study were quite interesting as well. The study looked at 7704 animals with microchips entering 53 different shelters over a year and half time period. 53%, of the total number of animals were classified as strays, meaning they were not surrendered to the shelters by the owners. Of those just over 4000 strays, 3425 animals were returned to their owners because they were implanted with microchips (most of those were dogs). However, for over 800 animals owners were not found and this was largely due to disconnected phone numbers, owners did not respond, or the animal was registered to another group rather than to an individual.

In addition, there were 1,943 animals that had microchips belonging to a specific registry (such as HomeAgain). However, only 1,129 (58.1%) were registered in the database. In other words, the registry acknowledged that the microchip was one of theirs but the owner of the animal had never completed the registration process to add the animal and owner information to the database.

Many rescue organizations that offer microchips do not complete the registration paperwork, instead relying on the owner to do so. This is probably what leads to the type of discrepancy seen in the study. Scottsdale Cat Clinic wants to ensure that the kitties we microchip are registered in the HomeAgain database. We also understand our clients have a lot of things on their minds and don’t need more paperwork in their lives. This is why we include the initial registration as part of our microchipping service.

If you are interested in having your cat microchipped, please give us a call at 480.970.1175 or email us at info@scottsdalecatclinic.com to schedule an appointment.

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