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Microchipping 101

August 15, 2018
August 15th is Check The Chip Day! Getting your pet microchipped is one of the best things you can do for your furry pal! A Des Moines, IA vet discusses microchips in this article.

How Microchips Work

Microchips are very small, about the size of a grain of rice. The chip doesn’t transmit any information. Nor does it utilize GPS technology, though you can get GPS-equipped collars. Each chip contains a unique ID number. Once you register your chip, this number will be connected to your records in the chipmaker’s database.

Why Microchipping Is Important

Microchips form a permanent link between you and your furry friend. If your pet is ever lost, the microchip offers a way for you to be located. Microchips are also becoming a legal requirement in many places. We hope this trend continues, as microchips greatly increase the chances of pets being reunited with their owners.

The Procedure

For Fido and Fluffy, getting a microchip is very much like getting a shot. The chip will be injected under your pet’s skin with a hypodermic needle. Typically, microchips are placed between the shoulder blades. This only takes a few moments. However, the procedure is often done when pets are brought in to be spayed or neutered, simply because it makes sense to perform the procedure while a pet is already under anesthesia.


Microchips don’t need any specific maintenance. However, it isn’t a bad idea to have your vet check the chip during your pet’s regular appointments. This is just to make sure it hasn’t slipped or malfunctioned.


As noted above, you’ll need to register your pet’s microchip. Whenever you move or change your contact information, remember to update these records. The chip will be useless if your information is missing or outdated!

Checking The Chip

If your four-legged friend has already been microchipped, try using the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool to check your records. The site contains the information from most major chip manufacturers.

Going Forward

With technology moving forward so quickly, it will be interesting to see where microchips go in the future. We may one day see medical records or other features incorporated into them. Unfortunately, though, the odds of being able to reprogram your cat so she doesn’t scratch your couch are pretty slim. Do you have questions about microchips? Contact us, your Des Moines, IA vet clinic, anytime!

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