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Chipping trend

Shelters, veterinarian say microchipping of dogs, cats growing

December 5, 2010
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

Local people involved in microchipping cats and dogs say interest in the transponders seems to be growing.

Dr. Mark Will, the veterinarian at Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital in Gloversville, said since microchipping started at the hospital 10 to 12 years ago he has seen a constant upward trend in the number of cat and dog owners interested in the procedure.

"It's added security in place if [the animal] gets off a leash," he said.

Article Photos

Abbey Cargiulo, a licensed veterinary technician at Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital in Gloversville, scans a microchip that is inside a plastic case on Wednesday at the hospital.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

According to the Humane Society of the United States website - - microchips are tiny transponders that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about the pet.

The transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, are implanted just under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades, the website said.

Will said it usually takes "half-a-second" to insert the chip in an animal.

"It's just a microchip that can be scanned," he said. "It's not a homing device."


Each microchip has a registration number and the phone number of the registry for that particular brand of chip, the website said. A handheld scanner reads the chip's radio frequency and displays the information. The animal shelter or vet clinic that finds a pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number, the website said.

Abbey Cargiulo, a licensed veterinary technician at the veterinary hospital, said the cost to put in the microchip and register it for the first year is $66. After that, it costs about $14 a year to keep the registry active.

Will said part of the advantage of getting a pet microchipped is it is an easy way for someone to prove ownership if a dog or cat gets lost.

Denise Feldle, shelter administrator for the James A. Brennan Memorial Humane Society in Mayfield, said the organization has offered microchipping since the summer. Though it has been scanning dogs and cats that came in for microchips for years, she said.

"We feel there is a benefit to the owner," she said, about the decision to start microchipping animals.

Feldle said Dr. Joseph Bryan, a veterinarian who also is president of the board of the organization, usually comes in on Mondays and Fridays for dogs at the shelter. Members of the public who want the procedure done can make an appointment, she said.

She said it is important people remember that it is not enough just to get the microchip put into the dog or cat; owners also have to register their pet with microchip company.

Feldle said she has not witnessed any drawback at all to getting a dog or cat microchipped.

"Not enough people are [getting their pets microchipped]" she said.

Debra Mazur, a shelter employee in Amsterdam for the Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the group will have a Holiday Pet Portraits event Saturday and today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Riverfront Center where people can get there dogs or cats microchipped for $25, among other activities.

Mazur said she also has seen an increase in microchipping since the shelter started offering it about 3 years ago.

"We have seen no problems," she said. "We have found dogs that have been lost [because of microchips.]"

According to the Humane Society website, while microchips are useful, they are not a replacement for a pet collar with ID tags.

"Despite advances in universal scanners and registry procedures, microchips aren't foolproof, and you shouldn't rely on them exclusively to protect your pet," the website said. "Universal scanners can detect a competing company's chip, but they may not be able to read the data. And if shelter or vet clinic personnel don't use the scanner properly, they may fail to detect a chip."



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