Microchips can save lives

tiny microchip

They may be tiny, but their impact is great.

You probably already know that if a lost pet has a microchip implanted, their chance of being reunited with their owner is greatly increased. But did you know that without a microchip (or any other form of ID) on average, only 2% of cats and 30% of dogs are returned to their owners? Placing a microchip can increase this success rate to 40% for cats and 60% for dogs. It is therefore very worthwhile to be sure all pets entering a shelter are scanned for a microchip and have a chip implanted if one is not found.

Keep that scanner handy

Ideally, every animal entering a shelter should be checked for a microchip with a universal scanner at the time of intake. The process takes less than 30 seconds and the only equipment required is a scanner that has fully charged batteries. The scanner should be held just above the animal’s body while it is moved slowly over the animal, covering the entire body. It is important to scan the whole animal because although most microchips are implanted between the shoulder blades, they can migrate over time. If a microchip is found and has been registered by the owner, the number can be entered into AHHA’s Pet Microchip Lookup tool  in order to identify the owner. This process can also be done in the field by animal control officers, which may prevent a pet from entering a shelter altogether.

Give it a try

If a microchip is not identified at intake, it’s best to go ahead and place one at that time. This procedure is similar to giving an injection for a vaccine and causes minimal discomfort to the animal. If you are concerned that the animal will not remain still for the microchipping process, try distracting them with a treat or attention from another staff member.  Check out the link below to see how microchipping is accomplished quick and easy!

microchip scanner

Although implanting a microchip does not require anesthesia, many animal welfare organizations will wait to place one until the time of spay/neuter. This is particularly helpful if staff availability is limited for intake procedures. Additionally, there are no age restrictions when implanting a microchip. However, it is typical to wait until a kitten or puppy is 8 weeks of age before placing the chip, as this is the most common age these little ones are spayed or neutered.

Make microchipping one of your shelter’s protocols

It’s truly amazing that such a tiny and easy to use piece of technology can have such a large impact. We encourage every animal welfare organization to consider the potential life saving affects of microchips and be sure to scan every animal that enters their facility. Better yet, consider placing microchips in shelter animals to help ensure future owners will be reunited with their pet if ever lost!

Check out this video of how to microchip!

Helpful links:

AHHA’s Pet Microchip Lookup

HomeAgain

AVIDID

24HourPetWatch 

PetPoint Summit 2014 Highlights

This past weekend, over a hundred animal welfare professionals flocked to Chicago for the 4th annual PetPoint Summit.  Offerings included workshops in basic and advanced functionality, Q&A’s, lectures and personal training sessions. Several product announcements occurred, including new PetPoint modules and new microchip technology. Just like a Kickstarter fund, PetHealth is still looking for funds to pay for the development of these new features. Early adopters will get access to the features as they are made available, get significant discounts on pricing, and have lower prices locked in for 3 years. Let’s take a look at some features which are now available, and which ones will be available in the near future.

Advanced Productivity

Logo-DMSFile storage: In addition to the standard three images and video which can be added to an animal, it will now be possible to attach other types of files. A new tab is now available for purchase, which will allow you to upload up to 250 files per animal. Finally we can attach vet records, lab results, scanned letters or other documents, and even .ZIP files. There is a maximum of 5MB per file, and a total of 1TB per organization. For those of you not technologically savy: 1-2 page PDFs are 200KB, high definition pictures are 2,000KB, and a large veterinary textbook is 5,000KB (5MB). Most standard files will be less than 5MB, and 99.9% of organizations will not exceed the 1TB (1000GB) data cap.

E-signature: Closely related to the ability to store files, is the ability to store e-signatures. Signatures can be obtained through touch screen devices (tablets, smartphones) or standard credit card signature pads. E-signatures can be used for adopters, consent forms and payments, allowing receipts and contracts to be e-mailed rather than printed. This can be particularly useful for saving medical or veterinary staff signatures, which can be printed out on vaccine or medical records.

Mobile Animal Inventory: PetPoint is finally going mobile! This new features will not be a traditional app one which can download onto your device from the Apple or Google Play stores. Instead, PetPoint will be available as a mobile web app. A mobile web app is a website, which is accessed through a browser like a normal site, but when the device which accesses the site is below a certain size or resolution, the website will automatically switch to the mobile web app view. This is similar to a mobile responsive website, which resizes and changes appearance to look better on a small screen. A mobile web app is designed to look like a native app (the kind you download), but to exist within a web browser. Through this app we can expect new features including taking pictures and videos with your phone that are automatically added to an animal’s file, to-do lists for daily rounds, and increased ease of real time updates.

Advanced visual calendar: The scheduling module is getting a facelift, including a basic visual calendar for ease of reading. Scheduling is also getting new features such as find next appointment, automated reminders, and a public consumer portal for self-scheduling of appointments. The scheduling module enhancement will be useful for those wanting to organize fosters, spay/neuter, vaccine, and other appointments or clinics.

Pricing: The Advanced productivity suite will be $2,000 – $3,000/year, but can be purchased as individual features. File storage alone will be $1,000/year, file storage and electronic signature $1,500/year. An additional TB of data storage will be $400/year.

My verdict:  Features I am most interested in are the file storage and mobile web app. Adding vet records, test results, x-rays, and other documents to the digital record has been sorely needed. The price is high, but provides adequate storage for most purposes. The mobile web app makes me excited, I love the idea of using PetPoint while on rounds. However, the app is a LONG way off, and PetPoint’s web design and UI have not impressed in the past.

Clinic Services Suite

CaptureMore and more shelters are also creating or are affiliated with clinics that provide low-cost veterinary services to the public. Shelters are also often involved with outreach, vaccine or spay neuter clinics. Worse of all, some shelters have to use two software products: one for the shelter and one for the “private practice” side of the organization. PetPoint’s new Clinic Services Suite will allow for standard features such as annual client vaccine reminders, integration in the scheduling module, invoices, multiple or recurring debit/credit card payments.

Other enhancements we can expect in the future include body system (SOAP) checklists, standardization of procedures (allowing tasks, medication, exam, and food to all auto-populate), reactivate canceled treatments, and skip treatments. Exciting news is that records transfer will now transfer ALL exams and treatments between organizations, rather than only basic information.

Some features will be Clinic Services Suite exclusive, while others will trickle down to Enterprise, Professional and Lite versions. This module requires a $2,500 deposit, and will be $5,500 – $6,500/year when complete. There is 25% discount for those wanting to sign up now, but many features are not yet available. Some feature overlap with Advanced productivity means that you’ll get a significant discount if purchasing both modules.

My Verdict: With a very large price tag on top of your Enterprise or Advanced Productivity modules, I think this module will be a hard sale for PetPoint. I personally don’t use public clinic features, but understand the need in certain organizations. Other new features tied in with the development Clinic Services Suite, such as the standardization of procedures, reactivation of canceled treatments, and complete records transfer will be of more use to the general PetPoint user. Again, this module is a long way off, so early adopters may not be getting much bang for their buck… yet.

Allflex T-chip

image004On Monday Allflex unveiled their new microchip product, the T Chip, a microchip with functions as a built in thermometer. The microchip can be read as a regular chip, but will also provide a temperature reading at scanning. Certain compatible scanners require a software upgrade (available online) in order to read the temperature. The temperature you take will be lower than a rectal temperature, as the chip is on the periphery, rather than in the core of the animal. This superficial temperature reading is subject to high variability due to environmental factors (e.g. dog walking outside in the fun). Temperatures also have high individual variability, and taking multiple readings is essential in order to interpret the results, which can downloaded off the scanner into an Excel spreadsheet.

My Verdict: A novel idea, my personal concern with this product is the utility within the shelter. While hands-off, one person monitoring is a nice thing to strive towards, most shelters don’t microchip animals upon intake. Animals coming through the door are the most likely to be or become ill, while those who are at surgery and get the microchip are less likely to need the chip. The (significantly) increased cost of $8.95 is another issue which I cannot see in the shelter setting. This premium product also has limited application once adopted, since owners and most veterinarians will not have a compatible scanner. Unfortunately, I’d be more interested in paying a premium on a GPS product than a T-chip.

For more information about products and services, please visit the PetPoint and or PetHealth Inc. websites for more information. Please click for the official suite brochure: http://petpoint.com/info/pdf_sellsheets/PP_DMS_Add_On_Suites.pdf