Microchips and market pressures

July 3, 2007

Dr. Khuly, with snakeOne of the reasons I really like Dr. Patty Khuly’s writing is that as a veterinarian who’s also a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, she always has interesting take on things. (She also looks cute with a corn snake draped across her eyeglasses, which is very cool indeed.)

I’m still mostly without net access unless I’m in Wi-Fi range of someone else’s network, so I’m on some sort of mandatory break from the computer. Which is, really, kind of a good thing.

So … check out Dr. K’s three-part history on pets and microchips, and why what you thought would protect your pet may be worthless in doing so:

Great stuff. Go read.

Filed under: pets, connected — Gina Spadafori @ 9:50 am


  1. This whole business is disgusting. Companies that make products for animals should at least try to make a product that doesn’t put other animals at risk.

    My cats have AVID chips – they were put in by the shelter I adopted them from. Do I need to also have a competitors chip added?

    It would seen that it wouldn’t be that difficult for some enterprising person to design a scanner that could read all the chips. Perhaps one of the big money charities such as the Humane Society could help underwrite such a project.

    Comment by Andrea 2CatMom — July 3, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  2. I wish the author would have addressed the safety of the chips and the problems with migration.


    Comment by Katie — July 3, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

  3. I remember reading about a universal scanner some time ago but don’t remember who made it. I did find this universal one though, by googling scanners:


    ResQ scanners can recognize all brands of tested microchips currently used in the United States* including encrypted and un-encrypted 125 kHz microchips as well as other ISO-compliant 134.2 kHz microchips.

    Comment by Barb — July 3, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

  4. I discovered this when I adopted my second cat and stopped by the Vet clinic in PetSmart. I read about the differences and how readers couldn’t always read them. They were recommending that I put 2 chips in my new cat.

    I told them F this game you are playing with the lives of animals. Why aren’t you fighting this? You’re a vet you know what it means!!

    No response.

    Pet owners simply need to realize the billion dollar industry they are supporting doesn’t care about the animals. It’s about money, marketing and ability to rule themselves..without concern for much of anything.. and us believing the advertising…and spending our money.. and continuing to enable them..

    Comment by Ann H — July 3, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  5. The Perspective of the “Short (real short) Term Profit Seeker”

    PetSmart’s boss says his company is enjoying steady, double-digit growth as pets become more “humanized.”


    Comment by Steve — July 3, 2007 @ 5:30 pm

  6. I have the M4S ID chip in my cat and made sure it was compatible as I had heard about the problems of different scanners. From the above articles, it looks like here in Canada, we are using the ISO technology.
    From pet food to microchips to what next? It just doesn’t seem to end but then maybe our eyes are finally being opened.

    Comment by Sindy — July 3, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  7. Well at least I know in advance that my dog’s microchip is useless. Home Again changed the data on our dog’s record without even notifying us – hours spent on the phone trying to work the problem out has resulted in the record of his chip being totally deleted from the system. I have never dealt with a company less concerned with correcting a problem which is totally their fault. We basically threw away the money we paid them – lesson learned. They are imho seriously bad news. Ironically they have the audacity to currently be pushing a higher level of service for which you pay an annual fee.

    Comment by Debbie — July 7, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  8. After getting my pup chipped with HomeAgain, I got the Activation/Registration form. I don’t regret getting the chip, but the “terms” were so OFFENSIVE I had to search online and see what was going on here. Sadly I discovered the smut about the lawsuits and attempts by corporations to limit and damage chip reading for pets that have competitors’ chips.

    I read and was surprised to find the terms one-sided and predatory to the point of being abusive! e.g. “You authorize your veterinarian clinic [and Schering Plough] to share personal information about you and your pet, including medical information, with Schering…with third parties, …affiliates, business partners, vendors, …other veterinarians,…” WTF? There is no opt-out available. One MIGHT be able to opt-out of some marketing after it begins.

    Then on the billing front: “You authorize Schering to charge your credit card for the
    activation fee and annual subscription fee…, as well as for any and all other fees you may incur in connection with your utilization of the Services. You further authorize Schering to charge your credit card automatically on a recurring basis each year for the then-current annual subscription fee….You understand that, once charged, subscription fees for the Services are non-refundable….If Schering does not receive payment from the issuer of your credit card, you agree to pay all amounts due upon demand directly to Schering…. In the event of any failure by you to make payment, you will be responsible for all reasonable
    expenses (including attorneys’ fees)…”

    So to simply register your pet’s number you are required to sign up to a recurring annual billing and promise to keep your Credit Card info up-to-date and pay whatever they charge you. What if I don’t want the annual services like being able to get a jpg of a “pet lost” poster, etc. from Schering in case I lose my dog? Maybe I’m out of touch, but I don’t recall signing anything that one-sided in quite a while.

    Comment by Bob — August 3, 2007 @ 10:33 am

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