I've heard about something called "ISO standard." What does that mean?

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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1. What is a microchip?
2. How is a microchip implanted into an animal? Is it painful? Does it require surgery or anesthesia?
3. What kind of information is contained in the microchip? Is there a tracking device in it? Will it store my pet's medical information?
4. What do they mean by "microchip frequency"?
5. I've heard about something called "ISO standard." What does that mean?
6. What are universal (forward and backward-reading) scanners? How do they differ from other scanners?
7. How does a microchip help reunite a lost animal with its owner?
8. Does a microchip replace identification tags and rabies tags?
9. I just adopted a pet from the animal shelter. Is it microchipped? How can I find out?
10. Why should I have my animals microchipped?
11. I want to get my animal(s) microchipped. Where do I go?
12. Why can't I just buy the microchip and implant it myself?
13. Once the microchip has been implanted, what do I do? Is there any sort of maintenance needed?
14. Why are microchips sometimes not found?
15. My pet has two different frequency microchips implanted. Do I need to have one removed? Will they interfere with each other? Which microchip will be detected by the scanner?
16. My pet has a non-ISO standard, 125 kHz microchip implanted, and I want to have it implanted with an ISO standard, 134 kHz microchip. Can I do that?
17. Why isn't it a requirement that all shelters and veterinary clinics use the same microchips and readers? Why aren't they required to have one of each scanner so microchips are never missed?
18. When I have my pet microchipped, is there one central database that registers the information and makes it available to animal shelters and veterinary clinics in case my pet is lost or stolen?
19. What are some of the problems associated with microchips? How common are they?
20. I've heard a lot lately that microchips cause cancer. Is this true?
21. I don't want my pet to get cancer. Should I have my pet's microchip removed?
22. Do the benefits of microchipping outweigh the risks? I'm worried there is still a chance that the veterinary clinic or shelter won't be able to read the chip or my pet will have a reaction.