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Sensitivity of commercial scanners to microchips of various frequencies implanted in dogs and cats

Linda K. LordDepartment of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Michael L. PennellDepartment of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Walter IngwersenBoehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd, Vetmedica Division, 5180 S Service Rd, Burlington, ON L7L 5H4, Canada.

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Robert A. FisherMichigan Humane Society, 30300 N Telegraph Rd, Ste 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the sensitivity of 4 commercially available microchip scanners used to detect or read encrypted and unencrypted 125-, 128-, and 134.2-kHz microchips under field conditions following implantation in dogs and cats at 6 animal shelters.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—3,949 dogs and cats at 6 animal shelters.

Procedures—Each shelter was asked to enroll 657 to 660 animals and to implant microchips in 438 to 440 animals (each shelter used a different microchip brand). Animals were then scanned with 3 or 4 commercial scanners to determine whether microchips could be detected. Scanner sensitivity was calculated as the percentage of animals with a microchip in which the microchip was detected.

Results—None of the scanners examined had 100% sensitivity for any of the microchip brands. In addition, there were clear differences among scanners in regard to sensitivity. The 3 universal scanners capable of reading or detecting 128- and 134.2-kHz microchips all had sensitivities ≥ 94.8% for microchips of these frequencies. Three of the 4 scanners had sensitivities ≥ 88.2% for 125-kHz microchips, but sensitivity of one of the universal scanners for microchips of this frequency was lower (66.4% to 75.0%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that some currently available universal scanners have high sensitivity to microchips of the frequencies commonly used in the United States, although none of the scanners had 100% sensitivity. To maximize microchip detection, proper scanning technique should be used and animals should be scanned more than once. Microchipping should remain a component of a more comprehensive pet identification program.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the sensitivity of 4 commercially available microchip scanners used to detect or read encrypted and unencrypted 125-, 128-, and 134.2-kHz microchips under field conditions following implantation in dogs and cats at 6 animal shelters.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—3,949 dogs and cats at 6 animal shelters.

Procedures—Each shelter was asked to enroll 657 to 660 animals and to implant microchips in 438 to 440 animals (each shelter used a different microchip brand). Animals were then scanned with 3 or 4 commercial scanners to determine whether microchips could be detected. Scanner sensitivity was calculated as the percentage of animals with a microchip in which the microchip was detected.

Results—None of the scanners examined had 100% sensitivity for any of the microchip brands. In addition, there were clear differences among scanners in regard to sensitivity. The 3 universal scanners capable of reading or detecting 128- and 134.2-kHz microchips all had sensitivities ≥ 94.8% for microchips of these frequencies. Three of the 4 scanners had sensitivities ≥ 88.2% for 125-kHz microchips, but sensitivity of one of the universal scanners for microchips of this frequency was lower (66.4% to 75.0%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that some currently available universal scanners have high sensitivity to microchips of the frequencies commonly used in the United States, although none of the scanners had 100% sensitivity. To maximize microchip detection, proper scanning technique should be used and animals should be scanned more than once. Microchipping should remain a component of a more comprehensive pet identification program.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the American Animal Hospital Association, American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery, American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, Bayer HealthCare LLC, Schering-Plough Home-Again LLC, and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators.

Dr. Ingwersen is a consultant for PetHealth Inc, the parent company of 24PetWatch.

The authors thank Katie Kleinhenz for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Lord.