Jasper, a 12-year old Australian shepherd mix, went missing from home for nearly eight years. The owners were shocked to hear that their dog was found alive and well.
Jasper was cared for by another family who ended up moving and brought him to the local SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) clinic.
As part of the admission process, the SPCA scanned Jasper for a microchip and immediately contacted the original owners after his microchip revealed their contact information. If it wasn’t for the microchip Jasper may have been euthanized.
A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small – about the size of a grain of rice – and is implanted by vets just under the skin between the shoulder blades at the back of your dog or cat. Once inserted the chip does not require any maintenance.
Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner. The microchip number is recorded in a database registry with details about the animal and owner.
At this time, there is not a central database in the U.S. for registering microchips; each manufacturer maintains its own database. Vets use different registries based on preference. Once the chip is implanted the pet owner will be given all login information for the relevant registry.
The microchip must be registered and owners need to ensure their contact details are recorded in the database against their pet's microchip number. Should your pet wander or become lost, vets, animal shelters and local councils can scan your pet for a microchip and contact you via the database.
It’s also important to keep contact details up to date in the database. If you move house or change your phone number simply log back in to the registry and input updated information.
Databases are free, although some offer upgrades for additional services.
The microchip only contains an identification number and is not a GPS device and cannot track lost animal.
When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If they find a microchip, and if the microchip registry has accurate information, they can quickly find the animal's owner as in the case of Jasper.
The chances of a microchipped pet being returned are considerably higher than those without. A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time.
Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.
For microchipped animals that weren't returned to their owners, most of the time it was due to incorrect owner information, or no owner information, in the microchip registry database.
Although the presence of a microchip is not a 100% guarantee getting your pet back if lost, it does dramatically increase the chances of being reunited providing the registration information up to date.
Once your pet is microchipped, there are only three things you need to do: 1) make sure the microchip is registered; 2) ask your veterinarian to scan your pet's microchip at least once per year to make sure the microchip is still functioning and can be detected; and 3) keep your registration information up-to-date.
What happened to Jasper? He is home again and enjoying a 50-acre ranch with a host of other pets and farm animals. His story serves as a reminder to all pet owners on the effectiveness of microchipping.
For more information about getting your pet microchipped we recommend these two clinics:
Golden Oaks Veterinary Hospital
9155 Archibald Ave,
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Pet Time Animal Hospital
1103 E 16th St,
Upland, CA 91784