Evaluation of U.S. Pet Microchip Scanning Network Microchip Readers

December 15, 2007

Los Angeles, CA. --
For the past twenty years, TROVAN, AVID and Destron (aka DigitalAngel/HomeAgain) microchips have been used to identify pets and companion animals in the U.S. By 1993, animal control agencies, humane organizations and other pet welfare organizations recognized that a microchip incompatibility problem existed: the different microchips could not be "cross read" by the readers being provided. AIM USA took the lead in establishing and coordinating a forum of manufacturers, animal shelter organizations, humane societies and veterinary professional organizations to establish requirements for a reader standard to ensure cross compatibility in the reading of the various microchip types. The requirements were published in December 1994 and were to become the basis of the so-called "American standard."

The need for a true universal reader that works well on all the microchips in the installed base is as compelling now as it has ever been. A new comparative reader evaluation demonstrates the reason for the alarming number of reports of deficiencies in the pet microchip scanning network in the U.S. The problem has been further aggravated by the recent introduction and growing dependence of shelters on the Black Label Reader.Click here.

The first chart, entitled "U.S. Pet Scanners--Performance Evaluation," summarizes the results of the reader evaluation. Subsequent pages provide a brief description of the readers examined and a detailed reading performance evaluation of each reader on each microchip type. The AVID PowerTracker Reader (which reads all the microchip types in the U.S. installed base) is not included in the evaluation because of unavailabilty and because it has been made available by AVID only selectively to some animal control agencies.
Two of these readers are targeted specifically at vets or breeders (LID-560 and Destron Pocket Reader). The others are being marketed to vets, but also aggressively distributed to shelters, as readers "of last resort" for use in life and death situations to determine whether a recovered animal has a chip and therefore an owner. One of these has been restricted to read only certain transponder protocols for business purposes. And one (Black Label), which is being marketed as a multi-system reader, has an unacceptably short read range for several chips in the U.S. installed base and will almost certainly result in false no-reads in critical life and death situations.

Field experience with the Black Label reader, which the attached study does not show, is that the Black Label reader will on occasion mismatch the code number detected with an incorrect manufacturer or display an incorrect code number.

The LID-560 reader displays the text “CHIP DETECTED” rather than the full code number when an FDX-B transponder is present. This is being done for legal reasons. The legality of use, marketing and sales of the FDX-B (ISO) transponders which operate on 134.2 kHz is currently being litigated in the United States federal court system in three jurisdictions [Marshall, TX, Case #2:04-cv 183(TJW), Riverside, CA, Case #5:06-cv-01109-SGL-OP, New York, NY Case #06-cv-4476(VM)] by patent owners claiming that certain multi-system readers and FDX-B transponders infringe on total of five patents.