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THE IMPORTANCE OF MICROCHIPPING YOUR PET
It started with a phone call from a long-term client. She had been feeding a stray cat for several weeks and had finally earned his trust. She had put him in a carrier and wanted to make sure he was healthy. When we met him, we found that he was friendly, declawed and neutered. Someone had obviously cared for this cat at some point.
One of the first things we check in stray pets is to see if a microchip has been implanted. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and carries a computer chip with a number. The chip can be implanted at any time, but we usually recommend placing the chip at the time of a spay or neuter. Once placed, the owner registers the chip number with the national registry. Veterinarians and humane societies all over the country have “wands” which, when waved over the back of the animal, will detect the chip number. Through this number, the owner can be traced.
Fortunately, this cat did have a chip! We found that the cat’s name was Frankie, and his owner lived fairly close to where he was found. We were able to contact Frankie’s owner who was very surprised and happy to find that we had her cat. He had had been missing for 7 months!! She was happy to come pick up her long lost friend!
This happy story illustrates the advantage of placing a microchip in our pets. Frankie was an indoor cat who only slipped outside when the owner was having some construction on her house. Even indoor pets can be protected with a microchip. Collars and tags can fall off, but a chip is always with the pet. If you have questions about placing a microchip in your pet, please give our clinic a call!
Do I Need to Vaccinate My Indoor Cat for Rabies?
The short answer to this question is yes! It is required by law that every cat be current on its rabies vaccine.
A recent exam appointment may prove the point even further. At the end of August, we saw a cat that was injured. He was 8 years old and had always been an indoor cat. However, several days before the exam, he had slipped out the door and was gone overnight. When he returned, he had two bite wounds which had become infected over the next several days. His injuries were not life threatening and he quickly responded to our therapy. However, because he was not current on his rabies vaccine, he will now have to be quarantined in the home for 6 months and cannot be vaccinated for 5 months. If this cat bites or scratches anyone during this time of quarantine, he will need to be transferred to a veterinary hospital or an animal control facility for the following 10 days. And if this cat were to die during the time of quarantine, brain tissue would need to be tested to ensure that the animal is rabies free. The cost of any boarding or testing would be charged to the owner.
At the Veterinary Medical Associates, we know that our clients want what is best for their pets. None of our clients knowingly put their pets in harms way. We share this story to enlighten you to the potential dangers (and headaches) of not keeping an indoor cat current on its rabies vaccine.
We are blessed to live in a country where human rabies infection is uncommon when compared to many countries in the world. It is important to remember that one reason the human infection is low is because responsible pet owners keep their pets vaccinated for rabies. By protecting our pets, we in turn protect our adults and children by lowering the virus levels in the environment.
Is your pet current on its rabies vaccine?
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