In the veterinary profession, microchips are recommended for animals in case they are lost.  But the chip does little good if the information stored in it is incorrect.  I have scanned  chips on lost pets hoping to reunite them with their families only to find that the phone number is out of service or the family no longer owns the animal.  I have also read about a horrible situation in which an unscrupulous breeder microchipped a puppy but never told the adoptive family.   When the dog got loose, a good samaritan brought it to a veterinary clinic.  The clinic scanned the dog and notified the owner registered on the chip.  Before the unethical breeder arrived (having hoped all along this may happen so he could resell the animal), the clinic called animal control to verify the information on the rabies tag.  They were told the identity of the dog’s true family and were able to reunite the dog to the rightful owner.  

Here are my recommendations for maintaining microchips:
1) After the chip is placed in your pet, scan it to make sure it is working correctly.  Look at the scanner to verify the number on the chip matches the number recorded on the form.
2) During your pet’s annual physical examination, ask the clinic to scan the chip to verify that it is working.  
3) Twice per year, call the company behind the chip to make sure they are still in business and have your proper contact information.  
4) Update your contact information immediately upon moving or getting a new phone number.
5) Scan all new pets to identify existing microchips.  

Lau, Eddie. When microchips muddle pet ownership.  VIN News, December 13, 2012.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.