Did you know your pet’s microchip can move? Here’s how to keep them safe

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Is your pet microchipped?

Did you know, those microchips can move and be missed during a scan of your pet?

It’s not enough just to get a chip put in, you have to check and make sure it’s registered and working.

You can fix any problems before it’s too late.

Part of the jingle on Buster the French bulldog’s collar is a tag that tells he’s microchipped.

“Just the extra security is nice to have just in case kind of thing,” said Linh Le, Buster’s “uncle.”

Buster’s dog park buddy, Dinoco the husky, is also chipped. His dad didn’t want to take any chances.

“I wanted to do everything right. And if anything happened to have that chip there so we can have him back,” Matthew Gray, Dinoco’s owner, said.

But microchips can move in the animals body. It’s not common, but it happens.

According to the American Veterinary Association, that’s the biggest complication with microchips. That’s based on a study of more than four million animals with microchips. 391 adverse reactions were reported and moving microchips were the top issue.

“It does help a lot of pets get home,” said Brenda Mitchell with Fresno Humane Animal Services.

Mitchell says implanting the chip correctly can reduce the chances of it moving. She demonstrated the right way to put in the chip on Nadia, a German Shepherd available for adoption.

“So we’re going to pinch, and you see how I turned? And then three times for good luck, she’s microchipped! And there’s nothing that says ‘I love you’ like microchipping a dog,” Mitchell added.

Newer microchips are designed to stay in place. The new microchip that Nadia got actually has a little barb at the end to keep it from moving around underneath her skin.

Chips are supposed to be implanted between the shoulder blades. Mitchell says the procedure is often done during a spay or neuter when the animal is lying on it’s back for surgery, which can make the placement less exact. So it’s important for shelters or veterinarians offices to scan around the animal’s body.

“So we push the button and we just run it right over the top of him, and see the microchip comes up,” Mitchell demonstrated on a resident shelter cat.

Microchips are still the best way to get a dog, cat or other animal back to it’s owner. At Fresno Humane, animals without a microchip have a four-percent return rate to their owner. That jumps to 60-percent if the animal has a chip. And it’s important to check that chip.

“Pet owners any opportunity you get to have your pet scanned have them scanned,” Mitchell said.

It could be during their yearly vet visit. And check your information, your phone number and address associated with the chip, especially if you move.
And keep your pets chip number and the contact for the microchip company somewhere you find it easily – like your cell phone.

“You know it’s like your insurance, do you know how to get a hold of your insurance company? When you need them, you need to know that information, and you’ll probably be in a panic,” Mitchell said.

It’s something Buster and Dinoco’s families hadn’t thought about.

“I don’t think it gets checked regularly because I don’t think they give instructions to get it checked regularly,” said Linh Le, of Buster’s chip.

“I never even thought about that, honestly. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I guess I should get it rechecked next time I go to the vet for him, that way I can make sure everything’s ok,” said Dinoco’s owner, Matthew Gray.”

And don’t forget the collar and ID tag. If someone finds your pet on the street, they can return the animal without having to scan the microchip. And if you don’t have an ID tag, you can just write your phone number on the collar with a permanent marker.

If your pet is ever lost, Fresno Humane recommends:

  • put up flyers in your neighborhood
  • post and search on Facebook
  • check Craigslist lost and found
  • contact local rescues
  • call your microchip company
  • visit local shelters each day to see if your pet has been brought in

You can report your dog or cat as lost to microchip companies, that way if they’re found and scanned, the return process is that much faster.
Those companies include:
24PetWatch 1-866-597-2424
1-888HOMEAGAIN
AVID 1-800-336-2843
RESQ 1-877-PETLINK

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