Whenever a pet is found and taken to a veterinary hospital or clinic, one of the first steps that the clinic will perform is to assess if a microchip has been placed on the pet. Most clinics have purchased a standardized reader that can read all chips, but there is a large variation in the chips, owing to the large number of manufacturers in the early days of the pet microchip market. Consequently the readers are continually changing, requiring veterinary hospitals and shelters to purchase new readers every couple of years. The readers are not inexpensive, and new chip reader availability is not generally announced to the profession, resulting in occasional difficulties in reading chips, especially those placed in the pet when it lived outside of the U.S. The Wikipedia reference on pet microchips does a very good job of explaining the somewhat convoluted history of the pet microchip industry, which appears to be now settling down, with only a few major players.

Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital and Emergency Animal Clinic uses HomeAgain’s internationally compliant microchip, because the outer shell around the microchip is formulated so that the chip does not migrate from the site of implantation. This is important because many chips yield to the pull of gravity and, while implanted between the shoulderblades, often slide, with time, down to the forelegs or front of the chest. Since these areas may not be commonly scanned (because the scanner operator expects the chip to be between the shoulderblades), the chip may be missed during scanning.

Another important aspect of the microchipping process is that Beverly Oaks’ staff completes the registration process on site,

so that when the pet leaves the front door of the hospital after his/her visit, he/she is already logged into the HomeAgain national database. The owner’s information is mailed to the company to finish the registration process, but at least the pet is in the database immediately. This is important because most of the time, people take home the registration paperwork, fully meaning to complete it and mail it, but then……time goes by…….and other things crowd the day…..and the registration paperwork does not get submitted. One company estimated that because of this procrastination, 2/3 of pets with microchips are not registered in the database. Thus, to decrease the chances of this happening with our client’s pets, we do the submission for the owner. We also enter the microchip into our internal database, so that if a pet is found, we can query the in-house medical record database to see if the patient is a patient of the hospital. We have, on occasion, been successful with re-uniting pets and their owners based on this information!

Once a pet is registered into the database, the registration is forever, meaning that there are no additional fees to be paid annually. If you sell, give or otherwise change custody of the pet, the new owner should make sure that the database reflects the changes, meaning that the new owner should go to the relevant website, download the change of ownership form, complete the form and submit it with the changes. At Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital and Emergency Animal Clinic, we have a form that we can provide the client, to enable the change of ownership in the registry.

The legal owner of the pet is the individual/s listed in the national registry database.

Sometimes, however, a pet is found, or adopted, and the microchip number is unfamiliar or has an uncommon set of numbers. This makes it difficult to track down the owner, because the microchip manufacturer is unknown. To resolve this issue, two websites have been developed which accumulate ownership information into one centralized database. Check out these links to determine the manufacturer of a microchip : www.petmicrochiplookup.org and www.checkthechip.com

9 digit number:

Avid friend chip – non ISO compliant (800) 336-2843 or www.avidid.com

10 digit numbers/letters:

AKC “CAR” – begins with TR (800)252-7894 www.akccar.org

Allflex microchip by Pet Health Insurance- begins with OA (866)597-2424

Avid Euro chip – ISO compliant (800) 336-2843 or www.avidid.com

Banfield – begins with ODOD (877) 567-8738

Digital Angel/Destron microchip (800) 328-0118 www.digitalangel.com

EIDAP, Inc. – begins with 000 (888)346-8899 www.eidap.com

HomeAgain – alpha/numeric code (888) 466-3242 www.homeagain.com

InfoPet –valid characters are 0-9 or A-F (ex. 000134E9F8) (800)463-6738 www.infopet.biz

24PetWatch – alpha/numeric (866) 597-2424 www.24petwatch.com

13/15 digit alpha numeric code – ISO compliant 134 kHz

AKC 15 characters (800) 252-7894 www.akccar.org

Banfield –(AKA Crystal Tags) begins with 98101 (877) 567-8738

Bayer ResQ – begins with 981 (877) 567-5465 www.petlink.net

EIDAP, Inc. – begins with 9680 (888) 346-8899 www.eidap.com

HomeAgain – begins with 985 (888) 466-3242 www.homeagain.com

InfoPet – begins with 9 (800) 463-6738 www.infopet.biz

24PetWatch – begins with 982 (866) 597-2424 www.24petwatch.com