Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Microchip?
The AVID microchip is a low frequency (LF) computer chip that has an identification number programmed into it and is encapsulated within a biocompatible material. The device is small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle and can be simply injected under the skin of your pet, where it will stay for the life of the animal. This provides a permanent, positive identification that cannot be lost, altered or removed - a safe, simple and inexpensive way to protect your pet against loss or theft.
2. How does the microchip work?
The computer memory in the microchip contains a unique number - no two animals will ever have the same number. A radio signal is used to read this number through the skin of your pet. This all takes place in less than 0.04 seconds. Think of the microchip and scanner as a radio station and receiver. The scanner sends out harmless radio waves that excite the small radio station in the microchip to send back the unique identification code it contains.
3. How much does the injection cost?
The fee is set by your veterinarian. We have heard fees ranging from Cdn. $45 to $80 depending on the location of the practice and whether or not other services are being performed. Many veterinarians provide a discount if your pet is identified while in for other procedures. The fee is certainly less than the cost of trying to locate a lost pet.
4. Can anyone implant microchips?
To ensure that the procedure is carried out safely and that the microchip is placed in the correct position, implantation should be performed by or under the supervision of a Licensed Veterinarian to safeguard your pet’s health.
5. How long does the microchip last?
Once injected under the skin of your pet, our microchip is encased by a thin layer of protein that anchors it in place and is expected to last for the life of your pet. It does not pass through or out of the body. The microchip itself has no power supply to replace or moving parts to wear down. Therefore, it can be expected to last for decades and well beyond the lifespan of most pets.
6. How is a microchip placed within my pet?
The microchip is injected underneath the skin of your pet with an instrument much like a hypodermic needle and is therefore no different than the process of having your pet vaccinated. This procedure is simple, quick and causes minimal discomfort to your pet and can be done in the veterinarian's office while you wait.
7. What keeps the microchip in the animal and in place where it is implanted?
Just seconds after the implant procedure, the body’s normal healing process takes over. A small clot of blood forms around the surface of the microchip, holding it in place almost immediately. Within a few days, the injection wound heals completely and the initial clot is replaced by a small layer of connective tissue, keeping the microchip in place.
8. What is the youngest age a pet can be identified?
Animals of any age or any animal two inches (five centimetres) in size or greater can be microchipped.
9. My pets never leave my yard, why should they be identified with a microchip?
It only takes a brief moment for someone to leave the gate open or the door ajar. Pets that have not been spayed or neutered in particular have a desire to roam. Pet theft is also a daily occurrence. Some pets are stolen then sold for research. Purebreds, birds and exotics are valuable and are stolen for resale. Horses are frequently stolen and sold for slaughter. Most shelters euthanize the majority of pets they impound. They are destroyed because their owners cannot be found.
10. Does my pet have to be sedated for the injection?
No. Injecting the microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anaesthesia is not required or recommended since there is minimal discomfort with the procedure. The animal should be gently restrained in the same fashion as for a routine injection. Microchips should not be placed in the skin or muscle.
11. How much preparation of the injection site is required?
A complete surgical preparation is not required. A Veterinarian will determine the correct site preparation procedure and assure aseptic handling of the pre-packaged sterile microchip.
12. Is there a standard scanning technique?
Yes. Due to the nature of the technology, there is a slight directional component to the manner in which the transponder transmits its code. Holding the trigger in the “on” position, scanning is best done with the reader in slight contact with the animal’s skin or fur. It is recommended that scanning be done slowly, with small circles down the midline in a vertical direction and back up the midline. The procedure is repeated up and down four times. If no microchip is detected, the animal is then scanned horizontally, from the shoulder on the other side, beginning at the nape of the neck and continuing down the animal to behind the rib cage.
13. Could my pet be allergic to the microchip?
The microchip is inert and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergy or trying to reject the microchip after being properly injected.
14. How do I know the shelter will be able to check for the microchip?
We have been donating microchip scanners and readers to shelters, SPCAs, humane societies and rescue organizations for 10 years. These facilities promise to check animals for implanted microchips.
15. What is PETtrac?
PETtrac is a nationwide computerized recovery system for companion animals identified with a microchip. When you become a member, PETtrac can reunite your pet directly with you. It is not a GPS tracking system.
16. What is the cost to register with PETtrac?
PETtrac registration is usually included with the microchip implant. There are no annual fees, no recovery fees and no address change fees. There is, however, a fee for a change of ownership or for registering a pet that has a CKC microchip, a competitor’s microchip, tattoo or rabies tag. That fee is Cdn. $26.50 – includes GST ($28.52 in NB, NS and NL). Replacement collar tags can be ordered for $10.00 – includes GST ($10.75 in NB, NS and NL).
17. I have given or sold my pet to another owner. How do I complete a transfer of ownership?
We require written consent of the previous owner or a copy of the transfer of ownership certificate before a change of ownership is completed.
18. What happens if I am on vacation and my pet is brought to a shelter?
If provided, PETtrac maintains alternate contact information. Your pet would be released to your authorized alternate contact to ensure its well-being. Your pet is protected even when you are not at home, no matter the reason. It is essential that pet owners provide us with as much contact information as possible to ensure a successful recovery.
19. Are microchips safe?
The main component in a microchip is silicon, the same compound found in sand and glass. There is no radioactivity, no battery, and no other material harmful to an animal. The microchip itself is sealed in biocompatible glass so that the only thing in contact with the tissue of the animal is the glass.
20. Why microchip my pet?
Microchips provide a permanent, non-changeable or non-removable means of pet identification that will not fade or be lost over time, as can occur with tattoos or collar tags. Owner information can be accessed immediately, ensuring the rapid return of a lost pet and avoiding delays which can be found with other methods of pet identification. It is also a system that knows no geographical boundary and is applicable throughout Canada and the United States. This makes it the best insurance you can provide for your pet's quick return home in the event that it becomes lost.
21. How does the PETtrac Recovery System work?
Upon being presented with a lost pet, the shelter, humane society or veterinarian will scan the animal for a microchip with a scanner. If a microchip is present, a specific identification code will be displayed on the scanner. The facility will then contact our office or utilize our on-line software to perform a successful recovery. The PETtrac Recovery System’s secure online pet owner information database is available to qualified individuals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
22. Where can I purchase this product and service?
Call your family veterinarian for more information. If you do not have a family vet, please contact us for a certified clinic nearest you.
23. I have an AVID microchip in my pet that was done at a vet clinic or shelter and my pet is registered on the PETtrac database. Is there an annual fee?
No. We do not charge an annual fee. Currently, all PETtrac registrations are a one-time fee (included in the cost of the implant) for as long as you own your pet.
24. I have an AVID microchip in my pet provided by a breeder. Is it registered on the PETtrac database?
There is a strong possibility that it is not. It may only be registered on the Canadian Kennel Club’s (CKC) Canada Chip registry and not on PETtrac if the breeder bought the chip directly from the CKC. If the breeder bought the chip from a vet clinic, it will probably be registered on PETtrac. AVID microchips sold to the CKC do not include registration on our database. AVID microchips sold to vet clinics do include registration on our database. Either way, please contact us to verify the information we have is correct. You can then decide if you want to update it.
25. I have a microchip in my pet but it is not an AVID chip. Can I register on PETtrac?
Absolutely. We register all competitors’ microchips on our database for a one-time fee of $26.50 – includes GST ($28.52 in NB, NS and NL). There is something very important to take into consideration when choosing to register on another database. Being on more than one database is a risk to your pet as you must remember to update all registries every time there is a change. Keeping information current is imperative. If the information is not correct, it will delay or may prevent you from getting your pet back.
26. I do not have a microchip in my pet. Can I register on PETtrac without one?
Yes. We welcome all forms of identification to register a pet on our PETtrac database. We accept tattoos, city licenses and rabies tags as alternate forms of identification. Registration requires a one-time fee of Cdn. $26.50 and includes GST ($28.52 in NB, NS and NL).
27. What are the implications of travelling with a microchipped pet between Canada and the USA?
There are no specific requirements for companion animals travelling with their owners across the Canada-USA border. Any AVID reader within the USA will be able to identify any Canadian implanted AVID microchip. To facilitate quicker identification, the AVID microchip is completely compatible with all low frequency scanners and easily traceable anywhere in Canada and the United States.
28. I am travelling overseas. Will the AVID microchip I have in my pet be able to be read?
Yes. The Canadian Standard FECAVA microchip will be able to be read overseas. Please consult with your veterinarian about the details of your pet’s travel. We recommend scanning the microchip before implantation to make sure it will read; again after implantation; several times before the pet’s departure date; and at least two weeks prior to departure. Please consult the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs’ website for more information:
www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine or www.britishembassy.gov.uk
You may also want to contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at: www.inspection.gc.ca
29. How many animals have received microchip transponders?
No exact figures for total numbers are available for the entire industry, but estimates currently indicate that the number is in excess of one billion worldwide.