New Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool

Reuniting lost pets that have microchips with their owners has just gotten a lot easier. On 22 September, 2009, the American Animal Hospital Association launched the internet’s first Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool.

Microchipping is usually a surefire way to ensure that you will be reunited with your lost pet quickly. However, navigating through the multitude of microchip companies and different registries can make searching for a pet’s owner very time consuming and sometimes downright difficult.

The American Animal Hospital Association

The American Animal Hospital Association’s year long endeavor to launch the only universal microchip database has finally come to fruition. This free online tool has been carefully designed to assist animal control personnel, shelters, and veterinarian clinics to quickly reunite lost pets with their owners by being able to search through 4 different pet microchip registries at the same time.

When a pet is taken into an animal shelter or veterinary clinic, the first thing that is done is a scan over the pet’s body to see if it has a microchip. Once located, the scanner will then identify the microchip number. Animal shelter or veterinary personnel will then have to call every single microchip registry in the US in order to find out whether that microchip number belongs to that registry. When a match is found, the microchip registry is then able to contact the pet’s owner on behalf of the animal shelter or veterinary personnel.

How The Tool Works

The American Animal Hospital Association provided a press release to the public in which it was explained that the Microchip Lookup Tool works by “checking the databases of participating pet recovery services to determine which has registration information available for a microchip, within seconds a list of all the registries with microchip registration information available along with the registries’ contact information will appear in chronological order.”

Those microchip companies that are participating in the American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Microchip Lookup Tool are:

American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery

HomeAgain by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health

Petlink by Datamars

resQ by Bayer Animal Health

Other Microchip Registries

Although the press release does not clearly explain why other popular microchip registries and companies had been excluded from the tool, the FAQ’s on their website does give a better explanation: those microchip companies wishing to partake in the Universal Microchip Lookup Tool must distribute microchips to both dogs and cats in either the USA or in Canada and 24/7 service with a toll free number for pet owners to call. The American Animal Hospital Association’s FAQ’s also state that they are still working with other microchip registries to incorporate them into the Universal Microchip Lookup Tool as well.

The communications coordinator at the American Animal Hospital Association, Jason Merrihew, has indicated that a few more companies will join the endeavor within a few weeks.

“We’ve had amazing collaboration with the participating companies, but the tool is still a work in progress,” he said.

The American Animal Hospital Association considers its tool to be in beta mode and as such is continuing to request feedback from the microchip registries already associated with the tool as well as with animal shelter and veterinarian personnel who use the tool.

If a pet’s microchip has not been registered with any of the microchip registries that are participating with the Universal Microchip Lookup Tool, a search using the tool will provide the microchip’s manufacturer or distributor instead. Due to privacy restrictions, the pet’s owner’s information will never be publicly displayed, only a list of registries that holds ownership information for that particular microchip.

“The goal is to streamline the complex issue of identifying the correct pet recovery registry for the people on the frontlines,” Merrihew said. “When a pet is lost, time is of the essence.”

Endorsements

Since its inception and subsequent launch the American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Microchip Lookup Tool has received much respect. Even the President of the American Veterinary Medical Association has stated that that the Association “absolutely supports the linking of companion animal microchip data bases.”

Another major endorser of the tool is the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, which is comprised of many animal related organizations and associations, such as:

Humane Society of the United States

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The American Humane Association

The American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives

The American Veterinary Medical Association

The National Federation of Humane Societies

The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators

Photo Credit: Chika

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