Implanted microchips, when combined with visible ID tags on a pet’s collar, have proved to be the most reliable system for the recovery of lost or stray companion animals. The International Standards Organization (ISO) has issued specifications for a standardized microchip for animal identification. While most of the world has accepted these standards, North America has not. The primary problem is a competitive, technological one involving the compatibility of the microchips and the readers that are used by shelters and veterinary clinics.
The ASPCA supports microchip identification of companion animals. The ASPCA also supports the development of a coordinated effort to transition the United States to an ISO-compliant system. There will be some obstacles to overcome during the transition period if we are to ensure that no animals already implanted with non-ISO microchips are “orphaned.” A coordinated effort that includes manufacturers and distributors of microchips, animal shelters, the veterinary community and the pet trades can overcome these difficulties. In those areas where a coordinated system has been actively supported by animal shelters and the veterinary community, pets, pet guardians and the shelters themselves have benefited.