So, are all “chips” the same ?

Pet MicrochipsPet Microchips

It might seem an odd question. Of course all microchips are the same, aren’t they ?  Once a pet has had the microchip implanted, it’s checked to make sure it can be read by a scanner, and that’s it, isn’t it ?  Well, you’d hope so.  But there are a couple of questions that it might be worthwhile asking just before you have what should be, a once in a pet’s lifetime, microchipping.

What back up support does the microchip have ?

What is the manufacturer’s recorded failure rate of the microchip being implanted ?(If the manufacturer doesn’t know, why not ?)

Microchipping offers a valuable service to pet owners and their pets – ensuring that if a pet goes missing they can be quickly traced back and reunited with an owner when found.  The quality of a microchip may vary in a number of ways.  Some have a higher failure rate than others and some can even migrate from where they were implanted (usually in the scruff at the back of the neck in cats and dogs).

It’s important that manufacturers keep a tally of the recorded failure rate of their microchips, and have those figures available for scrutiny.  If they’re not, why not ? Don’t be too alarmed though, microchips are very strong.  The failure rates recorded for the more robust microchips are in the region of 1 in 50,000 –  which is very, very low.

Migration of a microchip is another problem.  Basically, a microchip should stay where it’s placed, usually just under skin in the region of the shoulder blades.  Again, some manufacturers have ensured that there are features within the microchip that keep it where it’s first put.

Perhaps an even more important question to ask, though, is about where the details of your pet’s microchip is being logged?  A true 24/7, 365 professionally run database service needs financial support.  The cost of basic registration is included in the price of a microchip, and this cost should be explained to you at the time of microchipping along with the choice of database aligned to that microchip, where that database resides and the service that will be provided if a pet goes missing.  The market has recently seen an influx of microchip suppliers.  Does it offer a service for a pet owner who loses their pet after office hours ?  It would be a bit frustrating if a pet microchip number was read late on a Friday night but the database can’t be accessed till Monday morning!