An emerging application of wireless technology may help reunite pets with their owners even when the animals are in another country.

Implanted microchip transponders have been used for years in the United States and elsewhere to identify dogs, cats and other pets. The tags include a glass-encased microchip with a unique identification number that cannot be altered but can be read by a low-frequency radio scanner. The number is then matched to a database to find the pet’s owner.



The problem has been that the American and overseas systems are incompatible. So some organizations in the United States that maintain identification databases are switching to the international system in the hope of one day linking American pets and owners to a global database.



The use of microchips has increased steadily, said Sue Richey, who directs the American Kennel Club’s Companion Animal Recovery program. It keeps a national database in Raleigh, North Carolina, in which people can enroll their microchipped or tattooed pets.



‘‘We’re getting 55,000 to 70,000 animals a month,’’ she said, ‘‘with a live recovery every eight minutes, 24/7.’’



Most pet microchips and scanners used in the United States now operate on a radio frequency of 125 kilohertz. But the chips used in much of the rest of the world operate at an international standard of 134.2 kilohertz, Richey said. That disparity can lead to problems when, for example, an American loses a pet while traveling in another country.



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