Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Are American pets required to be microchipped, and are there scanning laws?


Are American pets required to be microchipped,
and are there scanning laws?

An American perspective by guest pet blogger from USA Sloan McKinney

Introduction
We all love our pets, and we want to keep them safe.  However, we also know that there is always the possibility that they can get lost, or run off.  For this reason, one must consider microchipping their pet.  But, is it required?  The following information will discuss the issues behind microchipping your pet, and where it is required to do so.

Adaptable Breeds
Many dog breeds are adaptable to most situations that will have them go several places.  Take, for example, the Norwich Terrier.  This breed is known to adapt to many situations.  They work well with farmers, and hunters, who appreciate their gameness, and adaptability.  Yet, their loyalty makes them a great part of any family.
 
However, their sociable attitude can also be problematic if they tend to run off.  If that happens, you need to have a way to bring them back.  Microchipping can help reunite you with your missing or stolen pets.

Microchipping Questions
But, what exactly is microchipping?  It’s the process of inserting a small chip, through a needle, inside your pet, and it is activated by a scanner, which displays an identification number.  A shelter can scan the chip’s information to acquire the identification number, and find the pet’s owner - and it has already proven its worthiness. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, when asked if a microchip works, they respond by saying over 52 percent of dogs with a microchip have been returned to their owners, and over 38 percent of microchipped cats were returned.
 
It should be noticed that microchipping does not replace the need for tags.  Having a tag provides up-to-date information that will allow people who find pets to easily identify them.  However, if the information is old, or if the pet is not wearing a tag, a microchip will save them from getting lost or - in the worst-case scenario - euthanized.


Microchipping Types
If you’re going to get your pet microchipped, it’s important to understand that there are different types.  In America, there is no official standard for the types of microchips used, and there are several choices.  One such choice is the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID).  But, there is also a chip preferred by the International Standards Organization (ISO).  It is the latter that many countries such as the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia use. 

The ISO has created standards that define the information content as well as the protocol for scanner-microchip communication.  Three digits within the identification number show where the pet was microchipped, or the manufacturer of the chip.  Another number defines the pet’s category.

Is It Mandatory?
In many cases, microchipping is considered voluntary in the United States.  However, there are certain exceptions.  Legislation has been created that mandates microchipping as a means of identifying animals who have been deemed dangerous. 

Additionally, in 1994, Louisiana issued a regulation requiring horses that were tested for equine infectious anemia (EIA) to also be identified.  This regulation helped many horse owners find their animal friends after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

Further regulations were created by the US Department of Agriculture Plant Health and Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).  However, “because the Animal Welfare Act does not authorize the USDA-APHIS to regulate private ownership”, a national standard does not exist.


But, that is not the case in other countries.  If you are traveling to the European Union or other countries, your pets must be microchipped.  In the case of the EU, they will use the chip to compare the data to the information you have on your veterinary documents.  It is also required in other countries for similar reasons.  This is why having an ISO-accepted microchip is required in several countries.  If they can’t scan the information, they will not be able to confirm the information you have on your documents.  Therefore, while it is not required in America, it is wise to get your furry friends microchipped - especially if you are planning international travel.

Conclusion
Microchipping ensures that your pet can be found if he or she runs off your property.  A local shelter will be able to scan the information, and return your pet to you.  However, if you are planning a foreign excursion, make sure your companion is microchipped before you leave in order to comply with international rules.  Whether you are in America or abroad, microchipping your pet could be your only hope of reuniting missing and stolen pets.