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New microchip technology a must at MacDill

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer
photo by Nick Stubbs
Army Cpl. Angela Moore, MacDill veterinary clinic, inserts a microchip. The procedure is simple, fast and required on base. ...

Like a box of cereal or a package of pork chops going through the checkout counter, your dog or cat should light up an electronic scanner when it's passed over it. If not, you'd better beat a path to the base vet to get Rover or Boots upgraded with the latest microchip technology.

The procedure is simple, fast and required on base, as of 2002, said Army Cpl. Angela Moore, branch NCO at the base veterinary office.

The implants are inserted via a syringe system that uses an oversized needle to place the tiny chip under the skin between the shoulder blades of the animal. It can be done in about five minutes on an outpatient basis, said Moore, and, while an anesthetic is sometimes used on smaller pets, it usually is not required.

The procedure costs $25, about half the cost of veterinary clinics off base. In addition, the registration fee of $15 is waived, when the chip is implanted at the base clinic, said Moore.

Once in place, the unique code on the chip is assigned and registered to the animal and its owner. Should a dog or cat be picked up, vets and animal control offices are equipped with scanners that determine if the pet has the chip. The number can then be matched through the company that made the chip and maintains records of the pet and owner.

So far the system has reunited three owners with their pets. Two were dogs that wandered off base, and the other was a cat found on base and belonged to a woman who lives off MacDill, said Moore.

Moore said the chips last the life of the pet and usually stay in place on the animal's back, but they can move around a bit over time. There is no harm done, and those scanning animals know to scan the whole body when trying to determine if the pet is carrying a chip, she added.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call the vets' office at 828-3559.

In addition to animals living on base, those who plan to have pets at the FamCamp for more than 60 days must have the procedure done.

 

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