Lord LK, Ingwersen W, Gray JL, Wintz DJ. Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Jul 15;235(2):160-7.
This study characterized 7,704 microchipped animals entering 53 animal shelters between August 2007 and March 2008. Of this number, strays made up slightly more than half (53%), with the remainder designated as owner-relinquished animals (41.9%) and other (5.1%). The results showed that animal shelters were able to find the owners of three-fourths of stray dogs and cats with microchips. The ability to find owners was higher in dogs, animals that were purebred, and animals that were spayed or neutered. Animal shelters had a much higher likelihood of finding an owner when the owner information was in the shelter’s own database or registered with a microchip registry. The high rate of return of microchipped animals supports microchipping as a valuable permanent pet identification method. The results also emphasized the importance of the registration process in successfully reuniting pets and owners. The study demonstrated the importance of scanning animals more than one time and the need for proper technique. It was suggested veterinary clinic staff should scan microchipped animals during each wellness examination to ensure the microchip is still functional and has not migrated. Additionally, the study indicated the importance of personnel at animal shelters to scan owner-relinquished animals and verify ownership via a microchip registry. The person relinquishing the animal may not be the rightful owner. [VT]
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