People's Animal Welfare Society
Eastern Province

Microchip Your Pet

Do you ever look at the PAWS Lost & Found and think that can never happen to your pet?   Well, it can happen to anyone, at anytime, with any type of pet. Sadly, pet theft is increasing and often a Microchip tag is the only way to prove your pet belongs to you. It really is worth it!

Although cats and dogs are normally thought of as candidates for a microchip you can also microchip your reptiles and birds. You can microchip almost any type of animal.

The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and has an identification number programmed into it. It is inserted with a hypodermic needle under your pet’s skin. The process is no more painful than an ordinary vaccination. The pet does not need to be sedated.


A pet of any age can be fitted with a microchip. It is often recommended by veterinarians that you microchip your pet with its first set of vaccinations. The microchip will last your pet its entire life.

There are those who believe that their pet can develop allergies or even cancer from the microchip. The microchip itself is encapsulated within a biocompatible material and is inert. When injected properly there is virtually no chance of an allergic reaction or the pet’s body attempting to reject it.

Since the database was started in 1996, over 4 million animals have been microchipped and only 361 adverse reactions have been reported (this represents an incidence of approximately 0.009%). –Source AVMA

The microchip implant in your pet is useless if you don't bother to register your contact information with an agency. However, not all microchip companies use the same database, ex. AVID uses PETtrac. Regardless of the database you must keep your information current to ensure the safe return of your pet.

The benefits of microchipping animals definitely outweigh the risks. Although it can't guarantee that a shelter or veterinary clinic will always be able to read every microchip, the risk that this will happen is very low, and getting even lower.

Animal shelters and veterinary clinics are very aware of the concerns about missing an implanted microchip, and take extra measures to determine if a microchip is present.

Forward- and backward-reading scanners are becoming more available, and solve the challenge of detecting different microchip frequencies.

Although the microchip is a very important part of pet identification it is equally important to equip your pet with a collar and identification tags.

The Miracle Of The Microchip
Microchip Reunites George With His Family After 13 Years
Missing June 23, 1995 - Reunited November 5, 2008

Santa Rosa cat, missing 13 years, is back home
Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More than 13 years after he went missing from his Santa Rosa home, George the cat is back.

"I was blown away," Frank Walburg said of the unexpected return of his missing feline. "Such a big chunk of time has passed."

George was reunited with Walburg and his wife, Melinda Merman, both dedicated cat companions, last Wednesday after Sonoma County Animal Care and Control officers rescued him from a mobile home park - just 3 miles from their home - at the request of the manager.

Authorities scanned the kitty and found an implanted microchip that was encoded with identifying information that they were able to trace back to the couple. Walburg and Merman arrived at the shelter within 20 minutes after they got the call and saw a cat that was about half the weight of George 13 years ago. But the gray and chestnut coat and the black nose were the same, and so was the distinctive jowl.

Although now weighing a little more than 6 pounds with a skeletal frame, "There was no ambiguity that he was the same dude, no doubt about it," Walburg said. George, sickened with an upper respiratory infection and newly diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, a parasitical disease that can cause lethargy and weight loss but that can be successfully treated with antibiotics, is not as feisty as he was when he disappeared June 23, 1995.

In the first months after George vanished, Walburg and Merman plastered the neighborhood with missing cat signs, regularly visited the animal shelters, notified local veterinarian offices and posted a $500 reward. As time passed, the couple's hope of finding him dimmed, "but we always thought about him," Walburg said.

Last week, he spoke to the woman who had George and learned that she had named him "Puka" and that he had shown up at her mobile home eight to 12 weeks after he had gone missing. How he got there remains a mystery, though Walburg said George was known to jump into cars from time to time.

Back in 1995, George, the offspring of a feral cat, was 3 1/2 years old and living with his three litter mates, Klaus, Ira and Grace, in the cat-friendly home of Walburg and Merman. Ira and Klaus died, but Foxy, Spook and Sam have since joined the pack.

Grace has stopped by once in the past week to visit her long-lost brother but seemed to show more interest in his chicken feast than him.

Because of George's health problems and advanced age - he's nearing 17 - his prognosis is uncertain, but Walburg remains hopeful. George is being fed chicken baby food mixed with chicken broth and has shown signs of rallying in recent days. His appetite is up and he's somewhat playful.

He spends most of his time sleeping on a heating pad, but every day gets carried into the backyard, which is planted with catnip, for fresh air.

"The selfish part of me wants him back and healthy and ready to play again," Walburg said on a blog he writes. "I don't know if that's even possible, so I've found myself making small bargains with a God I've never believed in and want whatever is best (for) him."

This article first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Visit here for a detailed chronicle and photos of George.