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Poll: Are the Majority of Your Pet Patients Microchipped?

Patricia WuestVice President of Media Strategy, NAVC

Poll: Are the Majority of Your Pet Patients Microchipped?
August 15th — Check the Chip Day — is a great time to encourage pet owners to check and update their pets’ microchip registration information. Photo: Shutterstock.com/Lucky Business

Have the majority of your clients gotten their pets chipped? We asked that question on our Today’s Veterinary Nurse Facebook page and were a bit surprised by the results.

We were pleased to find that 61% of our Facebook poll respondents say that their clients have gotten their pets chipped; 39% responded “no.” A total of 83 Facebook fans participated in the poll.

Microchipping FB Poll results

Microchips are effective for identifying lost pets and reuniting them with their families, but they won’t work unless the microchip registration is correct.

Truthfully, we didn’t expect the “yes” responses to be more than 50%. Our poll results are an indication that pet owners are recognizing the value of microchipping.

In a 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the authors found that 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.1

Check the Chip Day is Aug. 15th, which is an excellent time to encourage your clients to get their pets chipped. It’s also a good time to be prepared for their questions and to correct any misperceptions they have or myths they believe. Among the most common microchipping myths:

Myth No. 1: Microchipping hurts and the chip will harm the animal.

Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are safely implanted, similar to how a vaccine is administered — via a needle in a fold of skin. The discomfort is mild and short-term. Microchips are made of a biocompatible material that doesn’t cause allergic reactions.

Myth No. 2: Microchips are very expensive.

The average cost of a vet-implanted chip is $50, which includes registering the pet in the service’s database. Once it’s implanted, it stays in place and lasts for their lifetime. If your client says they can’t afford it, consider offering a payment plan to make it more affordable.

Myth No. 3: Indoor cats don’t need microchips.

Many indoor cats are escape artists that manage to sneak outside at every opportunity, such as when a house guest unintentionally leaves a door open. Many indoor cats don’t wear collars with identification tags either, so if they slip outside and don’t return home, his or her microchip could mean the difference in being reunited with his or her owner.

Myth No. 4: Criminals can access sensitive information.

The microchip does not contain any personal information and it’s not a GPS device. The client’s contact information is kept at a secure registry database.

1. Lord L, Ingwersen W, Gray JL, Wintz DJ. Characterization of Animals with Microchips Entering Animal Shelters.

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