Microchip Information


What is the microchip?

The microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it. The chip is encased in a smooth, strong biocompatible glass, and is small enough to fit into a hypodermic needle. Once an animal is injected with the chip, this one-of-a-kind number can identify it throughout his life. The identification cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed.

How does the microchip work?

The microchip is generally injected deeply under the skin. It sits safely there, totally inert. A special scanner is used to send a radio signal through the skin of the animal to read the chip. The animal feels nothing as the scanner is passed over him. The microchip sends it’s number back to the scanner. It appears in the viewing window as, for example, AVID 220*609*321.

How long does the microchip last?

The microchip has no power supply, battery, or moving parts. It is designed with an operating life of over 25 years and is guaranteed for the life of the animal. Once injected, the microchip is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it. The chip requires no care. It does not pass through or out of the body.

How does the scanner work?

The scanner sends a safe radio wave signal to the microchip. When the chip receives this signal, it sends data (the microchip number) back to the scanner to be displayed in a viewing window. AVID® scanners emit helpful audible beeps, display descriptions of actions in progress, and have a low battery message. Small handheld scanners are held close to the implant site while scanning. They have a reading range of about 3 inches. Larger, more powerful scanners can be used for various commercial and research applications. Read ranges vary from 6 to 20 inches depending upon specifications.

Are microchips and scanners “Universal”?

AVID® is the most cross compatible microchip system in the United States.

Who is qualified to inject the microchip?

Microchips go into the animal by way of standard injection. Those familiar with the delivery systems for vaccines and regular shots will have no problem injecting the chip. The Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society employ qualified agents to implant the chip upon adoption of an animal. Also, several local veterinarians offer the micro chipping service.

Does the procedure hurt the animal?

Although the microchip needle is larger than a typical vaccine needle, the general rule is that your animals will react the SAME way to this shot as they do to any other. No better, no worse. Animals do not over react to it. Their physical performance is not impaired and there is no scarring. You are not injecting any substance that can burn or irritate; the chip is completely biocompatible and non-offensive.

Does the animal have to be sedated for the injection?

No! Injecting the microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anesthesia is not required or recommended.

Could my animal be allergic to the chip?

The microchip is inert, smooth and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergy or trying to reject the microchip after being properly injected.

Can the microchip move around once inside the body of the animal?

When properly implanted, a small layer of connective tissue forms around the microchip, preventing movement or migration of the chip.  Instructions and injection sites will vary depending upon the species.  Microchips migrate very little if instructions are followed and implantation is correct.

What is the best age to inject the microchip?

Minimal age varies somewhat depending upon the species. Please see appropriate section.

What do you mean by the chips are “registered” to me upon purchase?

When you purchase microchips, the chip numbers that you have purchased are kept in databases and are able to be traced back to you. This service is included in the cost of the microchip.

However, this is not a 24-hour recovery service for lost pets. Nor does it mean that we know which particular animal has a particular chip. It simply offers the Animal Control Department assistance in relocating your animal.

If the Animal Control Department picks up one of my animals, how do they know to call the database?

Animal shelters and animal control officers have been educated and informed about microchip identification and how it works.  Shelters use industry wide, cross-compatible scanners that read all chips operating at a certain frequency.  Once a microchip is located in an animal, the appropriate steps are taken.  If the animal is registered with AVID’s PetTrac™ Recovery  System, the shelter will be given the owner’s name.  If the animal is not registered, they will be given the name of the veterinarian or the agency that injected the microchip.  

Where is the injection site in dogs and cats?

Dogs and cats are injected between the shoulder blades with a deep subcutaneous (under the skin) delivery of the chip.

How early can puppies and kittens be injected with the chip?

Most agencies inject the chip between the ages of five and eight weeks of age. Of course, the injection can also be done at any time after that.

What are the AKC regulations and rules regarding the use of microchips?

The use of microchips satisfies the American Kennel Club’s policy for record keeping and identification. The identifying microchip number must be noted on the dog or litter record. If microchips are used as the primary means of identification, a scanner must be present at all times if there are more than 20 dogs over six months of age on the premises.

Can toy breeds/kittens be micro chipped? They are so tiny.

You can chip your puppies/kittens as early as six weeks. The same sized microchip and needle are used in animals even smaller than those, including mice, baby birds, and even fish! 

Where is the implant site for birds?

Microchips for birds are injected IM (in the muscle). The standard injection site is into the breast muscle. Veterinarians are best suited for implantation of the chips in birds.

At what age can birds be identified with the microchip?

Birds can be injected at any age, but you may want to consult an avian veterinarian depending upon what type/size birds you have.

Can a chip be read the chip through a bird’s cage?

Yes, it is certainly possible to read the bird this way.

Goats? Sheep? Miniature Pigs? Rabbits? Deer? Ferrets?

Yes, all of these species can and are being chipped. The implant sites vary depending upon the animal, but most have standard injection sites that we provide to you.

Can reptiles and amphibians be identified with the microchip?

Yes. Microchips are the perfect method of identification for snakes, lizards and even alligators, turtles and toads.

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