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Thread: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

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    Default Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    Is microchipping your pet a good idea? Dr. Karen Becker discusses the benefits and risks.




    Dr. Becker's Comments:


    A microchip is a glass bead about the size of a grain of rice which is implanted between an animalís shoulder blades. It contains a radio transmitter, an antenna, and a computer chip with a 10-digit code. The information contained in a microchip has to be read by a scanner -- it is not a GPS system that will allow you to track and locate your pet.


    Most humane societies and rescue organizations require that adopted pets be microchipped, so if your pet came from a shelter thereís a good chance he or she already has one.


    For those of you who are still considering a microchip for your pet, there are a few important items you should first consider.


    With or Without Anesthetic?


    Most veterinarians will likely tell you that microchipping your pet is painless. But at my practice we would never even consider microchipping without some local anesthetic.


    And I highly recommend that if your pet gets a microchip, you insist on anesthetic. No matter what you have been told, the procedure hurts -- the chip is inserted with a really big 12-gauge needle!


    Potential Microchipping Problems


    Pet microchips are inserted underneath your petís skin right between his shoulder blades.


    This poses some problems because on occasion the microchip can migrate under the shoulder blade or up to the back of the neck -- or even all the way down to the belly.


    So if your pet has been microchipped, make sure you have a vet scan to identify exactly where it is. Once you know where it is, check it once a week to make sure there are no changes, at that it doesnít feel any different.


    If you can feel your petís microchip, it will feel like a grain of rice under your petís skin.


    Are Microchips Necessary and Safe?


    These are the two major questions that most everyone asks about microchips. One, are they necessary and, two, are they safe.


    As with any medical procedure, you have to weigh the risks versus the benefits, and in this case itís often a very individual decision.


    If your pet has a high chance of being separated from you, for instance he bolts out your door every chance he gets and doesnít come back when called, a microchip may be a good idea.


    Millions of animals do escape or get lost from their owners every year, and less than 10 percent are ever reunited. Even if your pet has a microchip, however, its ability to help you find your pet depends on whether or not it can be scanned.


    There are four types of microchips used in the United States, and unfortunately most facilities do not have a universal scanner that can read all the different chips. Then, the person must be sure to scan your entire pet, not just between the shoulder blades, in case the chip has migrated.


    Further, if your pet is microchipped make sure the microchip is registered and that your registered contact information is up-to-date. Otherwise, even if a facility finds your pet and reads the microchip, they will not be able to contact you.


    So if you cannot commit to updating your contact information with the appropriate registration facility, getting a microchip for your pet is not a good idea, as youíre getting none of the benefit and only the risk.


    What is the risk?


    The Major Risk of Microchips


    The major concern any time you implant a foreign body into your pet, whether thatís a microchip, a metal plate for a fracture or any other material, thereís the potential for your petís body to reject the substance.


    There have been two documented cases in veterinary medicine where sarcoma or fibrosarcoma, two types of soft tissue tumors, occurred at the site of the injection.


    While two cases are not very many, I believe there are likely many more cases that have not been documented. Research shows that between 1996 and 2006, up to 10 percent of laboratory animals had some type of reaction to being microchipped, ranging from a localized inflammatory response to tumor formation at the site of the injection.


    Needless to say, itís important to realize that implanting any foreign material into your petís body is a risk.


    So if you believe that your pet is safe in your home, such as an indoor housecat or a dog thatís appropriately trained (which in my opinion would eliminate the need for chips!) or pets that are always kept on a leash outdoors -- and most importantly, is a dog that knows his name and comes when heís called -- thereís a very good chance that you do not need a microchip. And in these cases the risks do outweigh the benefit.


    However, if your dog doesnít know to ďcomeĒ or you let her outdoors off-leash and just hope she comes back, these are high-risk situations. Ideally, you should rearrange your lifestyle to keep a closer reign on your dog or get some obedience training.


    If this isnít a possibility, then microchipping your pet may be an option. But do remember that microchips carry the risk of an autoimmune reaction or a degenerative reaction where your petís immune system becomes aggravated or chronically inflamed, which can in turn lead to tissue degeneration and abnormal cell growth, or cancer at the site of implantation.


    Are There Other Options?


    The decision of whether or not to microchip is highly dependent on your individual circumstances and pet. However, if youíd like an alternative one way to mark your pet without implantation under the skin is tattooing.


    For example, your phone number can be tattooed onto your petís thigh while he is already under anesthesia for spaying or neutering. Be aware, if you do this, that phone numbers can change! Youíll have to commit to the same number for the life of your pet.


    This continues to be a highly debated topic in veterinary medicine, and itís really important that you weigh risk versus benefit when deciding on microchipping. This will help you make the best decision for the pets in your care.
    LEARN A LESSON FROM YOUR DOG, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS YOU, KICK SOME GRASS OVER THAT AND MOVE ON.

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    That is just a money scheme, and more of a danger to drug them for a microchip!
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    ďIt came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough,all the components of my heart will be dog,and I will become as generous and loving as they are"

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    All of my animals are microchipped and all the dogs I have ever had have been microchipped. We never had a problem with it. I have found several dogs in my neighborhood roaming around over the years. I took them all to the shelter. The ones that were microchipped found their way home. The others.... well I hope they did somehow.
    I personally use Homeagain microchips. Their website can always be updated anytime with current information, medical conditions, vet info, and current photos. Homeagain also has international chip numbers unlike the other companies. I also register their Homeagain chips with Pet-Trac. Pet-Trac is the company that is used to register Avid microchips and their scanners are used everywhere. Pet-Trac will however register any brand of microchip for a one time fee of $20.

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manydogs View Post
    That is just a money scheme, and more of a danger to drug them for a microchip!
    Agree 100%.

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    Where I come from every pedigree pup is microchipped or tattooed before they leave for new homes and microchipping is much more common than tattooing. Even though the needle is quite large in my opinion it's over reacting to anesthetize because of it.

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    I believe un microchipping
    I tell you a recent example (from
    2012) friend of mine had her 6 months old american bulldog stolen from the back garden while family was in the house.6 months of putting posters , asking local papers to help there was no sign of a dog -on the 23 of december she was contacted by a dog warden who by chance raided someone house (puppy farm) and found her dog-only thanks to a microchip

    I know everyone have a different opinion about it -but i think microchipping can be a life saver not only when the dog runs away ,but when he or she is stolen from your own home or a backyard .
    In this article they mentioned dog rejecting foreign body and mentioning tattooing as another option - my body hurt also after tattooing ,and my recent tattoo ink was rejected by my body-it is a mess!Not sure if the ink was wrong or whatever -but it was nasty .
    "I use search option before posting new thread "
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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    We microchip all our pups, and have never had a problem with it.
    Have a Great Bully Day.
    Member of The Bulldog Club of America, The Bulldog Club of Texas and French Bulldog Club of America.
    Bully hugs from - BeBe, Hazel, Lucy Lu, JLO, Hillary, Henri & Katie


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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    In Australia it is law, you can not sell any dog without a microchip, so we do not have a choice, I never heard of any problems with them. They can save a dog from going to the pound or shelter as most vets can scan them and contact the owners. It is easier to find there homes if they are lost or stolen. My friend found her dog after two years another friend after 5 years(mind you she left it at ithe current home) this all happened because a vet decided to scan the dog.

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    I've been putting off doing it.
    My vet initially insisted on it, but as a first time dog owner, I wasn't convinced. I'm still unsure how necessary it is for a city dog that lives in a high rise. I mean the reality of your dog getting away, especially if you any semblance of common sense, is nearly zilch.
    But, if we move to a home with a yard then yes, I would definitely do it.


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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    If your dog becomes lost or is stolen, then somehow ends up in a shelter even if in another state, a microchip might be the only thing that saves him from being euthenized in a shelter which is what happens to most unclaimed dogs. Think about all those dogs that became separated from their owners during a disasters like hurricanes or floods. The ones that were microchipped found their home again.

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    Why wouldn't you chip your dog? What if somebody breaks into your house? What if the door is left open? What if his collar/harness comes off while our out on a walk?

    I watched Kevin get 'chipped' 3 weeks ago.. No surgery, no anesthetic.. No problem.

    Some vets like to do it when the dog is spayed/neutered because its easier. But since i'm waiting a few months to get Kevin neutered i'd rather have him feel a small 'ouchie' then risk loosing him. As I've said in other posts... He had a reaction to his last puppy shots, but the chip didn't bother him at all.

    I'n my area.. dog napping is a real thing. While my wife and i where dating (~9 years ago) she had a 9 month old dachshund taken from her back yard. The same people tried to steel a neighbors dog but the owners where home and where able to stop them (the owners saw them pick up the dog... they chased.. the 'dog nappers' tossed the dog at the owners and bad guys drove off). My wife never got her little dachshund back

    I'm not sure how much i paid for Kevins microchip... but the 'puppy package' from my vet was ~$150. It included all of the puppy shots, microchip, heartworm, etc.

    IMHO.. anything you can do to keep your dog.. well.. 'YOUR DOG'.. is a good thing. (Hear that everybody that keeps saying your going to steel Kevin... and you know who you are!! He's chipped/tagged and been taught all about 'stranger danger'!! )

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    Default Re: Microchipping, Is It a Good Idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by agentbunny View Post
    If your dog becomes lost or is stolen, then somehow ends up in a shelter even if in another state, a microchip might be the only thing that saves him from being euthenized in a shelter which is what happens to most unclaimed dogs. Think about all those dogs that became separated from their owners during a disasters like hurricanes or floods. The ones that were microchipped found their home again.
    Here is a post i made ~2 years ago...
    http://www.englishbulldognews.com/fo...one-you-should!

    We've been evacuated once more since then (ah the joys of living on the side of a mountain).. and with the way this winter went im sure we'll have a fire this year

    You never know when something bad is going to happen... at least i know my puppies are safe

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