ASK THE VET: What are the Benefits and Risks Associated With Having My Pets Microchipped?
Answered by MHS Veterinarian Dr. Michael Redmer, D.V.M.

Q: What are the benefits, costs and risks associated with having a pet microchipped?

A: While the benefits of microchipping are numerous, the risks to your pet and the costs are minimal. For a modest cost of about $50 at one of MHS’ three veterinary centers (or $40 at the time of adoption from MHS), microchipping provides a permanent, unalterable method of identifying a lost or stolen pet by using a hand-held scanning device.

Veterinarians and animal shelters (both nonprofit shelters like MHS and municipal animal control shelters) have universal scanners that can be used to scan pets that are reportedly found as stray animals. If a microchip is detected in a found pet, the unique, pet-specific code can be readily traced to the guardian who registered the microchip.

A microchip can work only if it is registered to the guardian with current contact information. Unfortunately, a significant number of microchips are not maintained with current contact information, or are never registered in the first place.

The process of implanting a microchip can be accomplished in just a few seconds with a sterile syringe-like implanting device. The microchip is implanted beneath the skin on an animal’s back with minimal discomfort - comparable to that of a vaccination - or without any discomfort if it is implanted at the time of an anesthetic procedure.

As long as simple post-implantation recommendations are followed, the chances of microchip infection, migration or failure are minimal.

Michael Redmer, D.V.M., has been a staff veterinarian at the Michigan Humane Society Berman Center for Animal Care in Westland for more than 10 years.

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