Microchipping FAQs

Q: What is microchipping?

A: Microchipping is the implantation of a glass canister the size of a grain of rice under your pet's skin. The glass canister contains the microchip, which is also known as a transponder. 

If the microchip needs to be found, a scanner is quickly passed over the found pet. The scanner emits safe radiowaves that activate the chip (if it's been implanted), which then transmits the identification number onto the scanner's screen. From there, the identification number can be looked up in a master database, and the owner's contact information can be found.

Q: Does my pet need to go under anesthesia for the microchipping procedure? How invasive is it?

A: Your pet does not need to undergo anesthesia for this procedure, although microchipping can be done while your pet is already under anesthesia for another procedure (e.g. spay or neuter).

The process of implanting a microchip is not unlike an injection, just using a bigger needle than you would see in the average vaccination. It is not believed to cause any more pain than a standard injection, and it's a very quick procedure to carry out—even at the tail end of a standard visit to your veterinarian.

Q: What information will the microchip carry? Do I need to worry about privacy?

A: Microchips currently contain identification numbers that can be read and then separately matched up to information stored in a database. For example, if a pet is found and brought to a clinic, they are scanned for a microchip. If a microchip is found, it will contain a unique identification number that the scanner will pick up on. A database can then be searched for this identification number, and the contact information you shared with the chip manufacturer can be pulled up.

You don't need to worry about your privacy with a microchip. You get to control the information that the microchip manufacturer carries in their database, and you get to control what information you opt into receiving from them. The microchip and database both have encryption in place to protect the information contained within.

Q: Can I replace my pet's ID and rabies tags with a microchip?

A: No. The point of a microchip is to permanently identify your pet in the event that they are lost and cannot easily be identified using their collar tags. Because microchips are placed under the skin, they are not susceptible to loss or tampering the way a collar tag may be, which renders them far more effective. However, a microchip must be read by a professional with access to a database, and so usually they require a visit to a veterinarian. 

A collar identification tag or rabies tag can be read on the spot, which makes them easier for first responders or concerned individuals—who may come upon your pet—to act on.

Ready to bring your pet in for microchipping, or want to ask our doctors some questions? We serve the greater Winnipeg, MB area. Contact the office today. 


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