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Microchipping Your Pet

The uncertainty and heartache of losing a pet is almost too much to bear. That’s why you want to do all you can to make sure they don’t get go astray, but you can take precautions a step further by trying to mitigate the risk. A microchip implant can be the key to reuniting with a lost cat or dog. The decision is up to you but you need information to make the right choice for you and your pet. Here are some of the commonly asked questions about microchips and what they can do for your pet.

What is it exactly?
A microchip is simply a tiny computer chip that is assigned a unique ID number before it is implanted in the area between your pet’s shoulder blades. That number is then cross referenced with your contact information as well as details about your pet and stored in a permanent database.

How is it implanted?
The procedure is much like a vaccination or other injection and takes literally seconds. The implant is about the size of a grain of rice and includes a radio transmitter along with the unique ID number.

Does it hurt?
No or barely so as a rule – about as much as your average vaccination shot. The procedure is very simple and most pets show little or no reaction.

Does it really make a difference?
Studies in the U.S. have been conducted, including one that involved 7,700 strays. Dogs with a microchip implant have over 51 percent chance of making it back home to their owners as compared to only 22 percent of those who don’t.

Are there complications?
Complications from the microchipping procedure are very rare and largely caused by improper implantation or migration, where the microchip moves to a different area after implantation. Ask your vet to check on it each year with their regular physical exam.

Is it permanent?
Yes, a microchip should last the lifetime of your pet. Once it is properly in place, it cannot be damaged or lost.

How does it work?
The microchip itself is manufactured by a specific company that keeps the registry data about you and your pet. What you are counting on is that someone will find your missing companion and take them to a veterinary clinic where their ear can be scanned. Luckily, most modern vet clinics are equipped for that purpose. The scan will reveal the name of the company and how to get hold of them. The microchip company can then give the vet your pet’s information – including your information to get in touch. When your pet receives their microchip, you should get a tag to attach to your pet’s collar with the number to call and microchip information.

If you are the owner of a lost pet, you should notify the microchip company immediately. Many will send notifications to area vets and animal shelters to keep an eye out for your dog or cat.

Microchipping is very common in Great Britain and Canada and has been for years. The United States has been a little slower to catch on but it is emerging as the modern way to help make sure your relationship with your sweet furry companions lasts as long as it possibly can.

Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket’s Go-To Veterinarian

About Dr. Arzem and The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is the founder and head veterinarian at The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 25 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founding member of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and Seneca College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.

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