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Microchipping can play a critical role in helping you find your pet if he becomes lost. Here are some questions and answers about this service from our Troutdale and Gresham veterinarian at Paws & Claws Pet Medical Center.

How does microchipping work? 

A microchip is a tiny, unpowered device containing a unique ID code number. This code number is documented with a pet registry service that issued the microchip, along with your own contact information. If your pet gets lost and ends up in a shelter, the shelter staff can use a radio frequency scanner to check for the presence of a microchip. When the RF signal hits the microchip, the microchip sends its encoded ID to the scanner.

What happens if my lost pet is found and identified? 

Once a scanner receives your pet's unique ID code number from the microchip installed by our veterinarian, the person doing the scanning submits the number to the pet location registry service. The service then looks up your contact and information and tells you where to collect the animal.

Does microchipping require surgery? 

Some pet owners have the misconception that installing a microchip under the skin requires a surgical procedure. Actually, however, the microchip is so small that our veterinarian uses a needle to inject it, usually between the shoulder blades. The microchip bonds to the surrounding tissues, taking up permanent residence in its new home. This simple process makes microchipping both much less invasive and much less expensive than major surgery.

How can I make sure my pet continues to benefit from his microchip? 

A typical modern microchip can last 25 years or more, so you shouldn't have to worry about the device losing its ability to help your pet get identified. A bigger challenge is the need to keep your registry appraised of any changes in your contact information from year to year. Our Troutdale and Gresham veterinarian urges you to relay any and all changes in contact information to the registry service, otherwise no one can let you know that your pet has been found.

Why can't I just put an ordinary ID tag on my pet? 

You certainly can put a conventional ID tag on your pet's collar, and it makes good sense to do so in case your pet is found by a local passerby, instead of an animal shelter equipped with a scanner. The problem with these conventional tags is that they can easily get torn off, either by accident or on purpose. But even if your microchipped pet loses his exterior tag, you can still hope that the animal will make his way to a facility that will scan him for a microchip ID.

Schedule Microchipping Today

Our veterinarian recommends that you schedule pet microchipping at the same time as spaying or neutering, but you can have it done at any time. Contact us for more information.