How Do Animal Microchips Work?
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An animal microchip, no larger than a grain of rice, is a radio frequency identification transponder consisting of just a few components encapsulated in a slender bioglass capsule, widely used in implants in humans and animals.
An animal microchip, no larger than a grain of rice, is a radio frequency identification transponder consisting of just a few components encapsulated in a slender bioglass capsule, widely used in implants in humans and animals. Some microchips have anti-migration features that ensure the capsule stays in place by binding to the tissue under the animal's skin.
The only function of the animal microchip is to store a unique ID number for retrieving contact information for the animal's parents - unlike GPS used for tracking, it requires power such as batteries.
When the microchip scanner passes through the skin of the microchipped animal, the implanted microchip emits an RF (radio frequency) signal. The scanner reads the unique ID code of the microchip. Microchip registration is called, and the registration company uses the ID number to retrieve contact information for the animal's parents from the animal recovery database.
Most animal shelters and veterinary hospitals in the US have global scanners that can read animal microchips from most manufacturers.
Microchips have different frequencies.
Microchips are passive devices, which means they have no internal energy source. They remain dormant until activated by the scanner. In the United States, animal microchips use several different microchip frequencies:
125kHz chip - until recently, this was the most common frequency in the US and can be read by most scanners in the US
134kHz chip - introduced to the US in 2004. This microchip is defined by a specification developed by the International Standards Organization commonly known as ISO. The microchip ID code format for this chip is defined as a 15-digit numeric code using 0-9, where the first three digits represent the country code or manufacturer code. This is often considered the "global standard" for animal microchipping, as it is used by the rest of the animal microchipping world.
The 128 kHz chip introduced in 2007 can be read by many scanners, but not all.
Does frequency matter?
Almost all shelters and veterinary clinics have scanners. By early 2008, it was estimated that there were more than 70,000 "universal scanners" in the U.S.-scanners that could read every microchip frequency sold here, including the new ISO standard.
Many leaders in animal health are recommending new ISO standards, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Animal Hospitals.
If you are traveling with your pet outside the United States, your pet will most likely need a microchip to enter a foreign country. If so, get your pet ISO chipped, as most countries outside the US use the ISO standard and their scanners won't read other frequencies. If your pet has been implanted with a different frequency, some countries will allow you to bring your pet with you as long as you carry a microchip scanner that can read the ID number. Animal microchips are more and more widely used, if you want to buy animal microchips, please contact us.
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