New Online Microchip Tool Aims To Help Reunite Lost Pets With Owners
The American Animal Hospital Association reported Sept. 22 that it has created the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool.
The free Internet-based resource is designed to help veterinary hospitals, animal control facilities and shelter staff members reunite lost pets with their owners by checking participating pet recovery services’ registries to determine which registry should be contacted.
Participating companies include the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery, HomeAgain by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Petlink by Datamars and resQ by Bayer Animal Health. Although Jason Merrihew, communications coordinator at AAHA, said that he can’t comment on individual companies that have not yet agreed to participate, he did say that more companies are anticipated to come on board within the next couple of weeks.
“We’ve had amazing collaboration with the participating companies, but the tool is still a work in progress,” Merrihew said.
This means that AAHA will seek continued collaboration from microchip companies as well as implement feedback derived from veterinary hospitals, animal control facilities and shelter staff members.
AAHA has been working with microchipping and pet recovery industry leaders for about a year to get the tool up and running, said Merrihew, adding that he and the association look forward to the tool’s future development.
The tool works by checking the databases of participating pet recovery services to determine which has registration information available for a microchip. For instance, when a microchip identification number is entered into the tool, a list of all the registries with microchip registration information available along with the registries’ contact information will appear in chronological order. The registry with the most recent update appears first. To avoid proprietary, privacy and other concerns, pet owner information is not included.
If the microchip has not been registered with any participating pet recovery service, the result returned will default to the microchip’s manufacturer or distributor.
“The goal is to streamline the complex issue [of identifying the correct pet recovery registry] for the people on the frontlines,” Merrihew said. “When a pet is lost, time is of the essence.”
The Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families endorse the new tool. Members of the coalition include AAHA, the American Humane Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the National Federation of Humane Societies and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators.
In related news, AAHA will be hosting the Web conference “Microchipping Works: Best Practices” on Nov. 19. The speaker will be Linda Lord, DVM, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State and service head for Community Practice, Outreach and Shelter Medicine.
The 60-minute conference will cover the basics of microchipping and the use of an international microchip standard. It will also include the recent advances in the scanner and registration process and how to develop a standard of care for pet identification and reunification that combines microchips and visual pet identification.
Click here for registration details.
AAHA also has a free online course on microchipping and scanning companion animals. The course, available at any time, is designed for staff at companion animal veterinary clinics and animal shelter organizations.
Topics include rationale for microchipping, equipment used, how scanners work, ISO microchip standards, how to implement microchipping in a practice, how to scan animals, the implantation procedure, databases and registration and the owner-animal reunification process.