The International Standards Organization, or ISO, has approved and recommended a global standard for microchips. The global standard is intended to create an identification system that is consistent worldwide. For example, if a dog was implanted with an ISO standard microchip in the U.S. travels to Europe with its owners and becomes lost, the ISO standard scanners in Europe would be able to read the dog's microchip. If the dog was implanted with a non-ISO microchip and the ISO scanner was not forward and backward-reading (universal), the dog's microchip might not be detected or be read by the scanner. The ISO standard frequency is 134.2 kHz.
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This problem can be solved by the use of universal microchip scanners, which are becoming more readily available. In addition, the use of ISO standard microchips would be a good step in developing a consistent microchipping system in the U.S.
The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) maintains a database of adverse reactions to microchips. Since the database was started in 1996, over 4 million animals have been microchipped and only 391 adverse reactions have been reported. Of these reactions, migration of the microchip from its original implantation site is the most common problem reported. Other problems, such as failure of the microchip, hair loss, infection, swelling, and tumor formation, were reported in much lower numbers.