One of the least known aspects of the TAGS organization is its microchip clinics.
In an effort to provide the community affordable care for their pets, TAGS offers microchipping of cats and dogs for the very affordable price of $30.
But what is a microchip?
A microchip is the size of a grain of rice that, when scanned, relays a number that correlates with the pet owner’s information in a database.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the microchip is that the chip itself does not actually emanate any type of signal unless it is triggered by a scanner. The technology is called RFID, or radio frequency identification. For more information about this technology, check out its Wikipedia page.
Here is a photo of a disassembled microchip package. The black item on the right is the actual chip. The item on the left is the needle, which is attached to a plunger, which pushes the chip through the needle under the skin. Normally you cannot see the chip because it comes loaded with the needle, but this package for some reason came disassembled.
How is microchipping done?
Microchipping is a painless procedure through which the chip is inserted under the skin. We apply rubbing alcohol to the back of the dog’s neck and rub it into the skin to help desensitize and sanitize the area. Then, similar to a flu shot, a needle is inserted, and a plunger pushes the chip through the needle under the skin. Sometimes you will see blood at the site of the puncture. Blood is made more visible by the use of the rubbing alcohol. Letting the puncture site scab over is the easiest way for the skin to recover.
Since the chip is inserted under the skin, it is impossible for the identification marker to be lost, unlike collar tags. And a chip lasts the lifetime of your pet, although it is recommended that on your next trip into the veterinary office, you have the chip scanned to ensure that it is working properly.
Why get microchipping done through TAGS?
While veterinarians can microchip your pet, their cost to do so is substantially higher than what the TAGS clinic charges, which is just $30. We are able to offer this service for a low fee because our organization is 100% volunteer, and we schedule our clinics in locations that invite us in just for the day.
Microchipping is the best way to ensure your pet is recovered quickly if lost. I highly recommend that not just dogs but also housecats be chipped since catching a cat who has made a break for the door is what inspired one of my favourite phrases: This is harder than herding cats!