VCA Animal Hospitals

What to know about microchipping your pet

Published: Dec 06, 2012

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The thought of losing a pet is a nightmare for most owners, which is why there are so many pet identification methods to ensure a safe journey home should they get lost. Identification tags are no help to your pet if she loses her collar in her frightening trek, and identifying tattoos can be overlooked under masses of fur if your pet is brought to a shelter.

Fortunately, owners can now microchip their pets, a method of identification that has proven more effective than any other technique put forth in the past. Here is what you need to know about microchips for pets.

What is a microchip?
Microchips contain a form of automatic identification technology similar to bar codes or magnetic strips, according to Animal Planet. They are capable of storing information such as your name, address and phone number, and are implanted under your pet's skin. If your furry friend were brought to a shelter, veterinary hospital or animal rescue organization, the staff would be able to scan her for a microchip, see your information and contact you so you can be reunited as soon as possible.

How can I get my pet microchipped?
You can contact a local VCA Animal Hospital to inquire about microchips and schedule an appointment to get one implanted. The process is much like that of dog and cat vaccinations - the chip is injected into the pet's skin using a needle, in the same place as many shots. Using a sterile applicator, the microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted underneath the skin at the back of the pet's neck, right between her shoulder blades.

What can I expect at the appointment?
Before your veterinarian inserts the microchip or even takes it out of the packaging, he or she will scan it to confirm that its identification code matches that shown on the package's bar code label. The sterile needle containing the chip is then loaded into an application gun or syringe. Then, with your pet standing or lying on her stomach, the vet will pull some loose skin in the injection area and insert the chip, just like a shot.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the procedure is fast, safe and appears to be pain-free in most pets. You can choose to have the microchip implanted in your puppy or kitten when you bring her in for her cat or dog spaying appointment, so this process can be completed while she is anesthetized. However, it is not necessary for pets to be under anesthesia during a microchip implantation, the organization reports.

Don't forget to register your pet and your contact information with the appropriate agency. Your veterinarian will give you the documents you need to do this. You should also always remember to update your pet's microchip data if you move or change your phone number. 


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.