The cat rescue I am involved with just started to implant a microchip in each cat we pull from shelters or take in from the community. We opted for the temperature sensing microchips since they are new and are the same price as normal microchips you can purchase from HomeAgain and most other manufacturers.
HomeAgain temperature sensing microchips, also known as TempScan, are only $10 each for shelters and rescues to purchase in bundles of 25 and come with free registration. TempScan microchips will detect fluctuations in body temperature where the microchip is implanted. Reliable temperatures can be collected in about one day after the date of implant as it needs time to adapt.
I started using the TempScan microchips about three months ago since our rescue went completely free-roaming rather than caging our cats. The microchip is only a bit bigger than a piece of rice. For ease of identification, the Department of Agriculture strongly recommends the use of microchips over collars in free-roaming cats. It would be a tragedy for one of our cats to escape out the door, unable to find his way back or for us to find him.
Adding value to adoption with a TempScan microchip is exciting because one in three pets will go missing at some point in her lifetime. Many of our adopters were happy that this feature was included with their adoption. We hope to lower the shocking statistic that only 10% of lost pets are ever reunited with their families. Losing a pet is often akin to losing a family member because pets are family. I would be heartbroken if any of my cats went missing.
HomeAgain recommends that your cat also wear the enclosed tag that comes with your microchip for additional protection. Make sure to choose a breakaway collar if you choose to do this to avoid getting it caught on something. This tag will alert any individual that your cat does have a microchip. Most animal shelters and veterinary offices will scan for a chip on entry, but other areas may not, so I use a tag, too. I know three rural shelters that are poorly funded and staffed, which only scan when there is a visible tag.
Administration And Use
The microchips are relatively easy to administer by a veterinary technician or veterinarian. Even a layperson can implant a microchip with proper training and practice, which takes about an hour. Any pain the cat registers from the implantation procedure is very brief in my experience, and only 15% of cats react to the microchipping procedure. The needle is so sharp that there is little resistance to inserting it. If needed, Gabapentin can be administered one hour prior to implantation to make the process even simpler, or you can feed canned food to the cat while you are performing the procedure.
The microchip scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary to transmit the unique 15-digit ID code so you can positively identify the cat being scanned. No two codes are going to be the same, so you want to keep them straight in your paperwork or database for when you need to reference them for any reason going forward.
A microchip is usually compared to a QR code or business card because it needs to be scanned in order to display owner information. A microchip does not work as a GPS tracker that you can track with a phone or app. Our rescue saves that number in each individual cat profile and sends home information about it so the adopter can change the contact information.
While socializing the cats each morning, I use our pocket-sized reader to spot check their temperatures and to verify that their microchips are still working. The scanner is so small that it is often not even noticed by the cat during the socialization process. I have 30 cats to take care of by myself, so I need a quick tool to use for examination purposes.
Any universal microchip scanner sold on the market today will display the temperature collected from the HomeAgain microchips. I find that the pocket-sized scanners tend to be a bit more on point, and for only $70 more, it might be worthwhile to have both scanners at a veterinary office or rescue. I think using a scanner would be an excellent tool in rehabilitating a very sick animal, so that you can stay constantly up to date on her temperature without needing to stick a thermometer up her butt every single hour.
I have recognized a temperature of unknown origin a few times since spot checking temperatures at the rescue. One cat was acting lethargic on a Friday evening, so I spot scanned them with the scanner. The scanner detected a 106.6 temperature, which was extremely high and could cause organ failure. I was floored, but also relieved that we were able to quickly detect this abnormality.
The ability to identify disease early allowed me to reduce suffering for that cat and to seek help immediately so we could shut down the fever. The cat started to experience severe respiratory distress on the way to the veterinary clinic. The temp collected with a rectal thermometer during the physical exam was 106.7 degrees.
Accuracy Versus Rectal Temp
I have scanned about 15 or more cats each day at the rescue I run since we received the first box of microchips from HomeAgain. I compare a rectal temperature to the temperature collected from the scanner if I have a temperature higher than 103.5 degrees. I will not do that indefinitely, but for now, I am collecting more statistical data.
Every temperature collected on the pocket-sized scanner that I have had the opportunity to compare with a rectal temperature has been within 0.5 degrees every single time, which is promising. I am excited about having this tool for physical examination purposes for years to come. Until now I would have to stick a thermometer up the butt of every single cat just to see if he might have a fever.
A fever is a fever, in my opinion. Splitting hairs over a small variation in temperature is a bit too critical. A cat with a temperature above 103.5 should see a veterinarian for an assessment. The average temperature in a cat is between 99.5 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. 103.5 is considered a fever and 104 is regarded as the warning zone. Temperatures of 105 to 106 can cause internal problems. The crucial part of detecting temperature is that treatment should not be delayed if you suspect illness.
I recently learned that HomeAgain is the only cat microchip product that has the Bio-Bond patented anti-migration technology built into the chip. This novel feature will prevent microchips from falling out and will ensure that they stay in place for easy scanning. I do suggest routine scanning at each veterinary appointment to verify.
The temperature sensing microchips (TempScan) are fear-free when you recognize their benefit in checking the temperatures of moody, sick, and feral cats without invoking undue stress or anxiety. I have their microchips placed at the same time they are getting fixed at our veterinarian. You can scan the chips from a fair distance above the cat if needed if the cat is aggressive or scared of hands.
I feel that the TempScan microchip is going to be a game changer for veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and animal rescuers alike. Having the capability on hand to detect a temperature rapidly and accurately in a sick or crashing animal has astronomical benefits.
The price of $10 to microchip each animal in your care is low compared to the benefits you will reap from incorporating the microchips at your facility and beyond. Learning to implant a microchip can be scary at first, as it was for me, but I had my veterinarian demo the skill for me. It only took three tries for me to get it down pat.
It took one week to sign up for a rescue account, and veterinary clinics can make the change to buying the TempScan microchips with a simple call to their sales representative. With no additional cost, you do not have anything to lose by trying these microchips.