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Pets /

Q: My veterinarian offers placing a microchip under my cat's skin so that he can be identified if he is lost. Do you recommend this? Is it helpful?

A: Microchips have been available to veterinarians for over a decade and their use has become common practice. Most shelters and veterinary offices use this technology as it can be helpful for identifying a lost pet. This year's hurricane season certainly illustrates the benefits of pet identification.

The way the microchipping system works is ingenious. A veterinarian uses a syringe to inject a microchip under the skin between your pet's shoulder blades. The manufacturer supplies the reader that when scanned over the pet identifies the individual chip and thus identifies the pet.

The individual microchip numbers and the clinic that administered them are maintained in the company's database. Thus when a clinic or shelter scans a found pet, it allows it to be identified almost immediately.

While this is a novel use of technology, it, in my opinion, does not replace having your pet wear an old-fashioned collar with your name, address and phone number.

Prepared as a public service by the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. Send questions to Pets, P.O. Box 1252, Buffalo, N.Y. 14205 or to the Web site at Sorry, personal replies cannot be provided.

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