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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering getting a dog, strongly considering, but before I do so I am trying to research and prepare as much as possible.

One of the things I am looking at is microchipping the dog. In the past, as a child, I have had dogs taken from me, so I am terrified of losing this one.

I read on Dogs Naturally that microchips aren't all that safe, but I also hear all the time how immunizations cause Autism... so I wanted opinions from members who actually have experience in this are of questioning.

Have you had any negative experiences with microchipping your dog?
Due to my lack of experience/training, I plan on having a veterinarian implant the chip, but I am concerned when I see reports of this being done wrong and causing cancer, or killing the animal.

Another option I am considering is an ear tattoo for identification purposes?

I am seeking opinions, recommendations, etc. as this is my first time not having my parents make the choice, I want my choice to be an informed one.
 

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I have had both my dogs microchipped and they've both been fine. They didn't like the big needle though. a microchip is faster and safer than a tattoo as the dog doesn't need to be anesthetized.
 

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Hello!
I live in Italy, and here it's mandatory to microchip your dogs! Both mine are microchipped, no problems at all for them!

Italy is a very pet-friendly country, so I trust that the decision was made for the best.

Hugs,
Yume
 

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We recently had a thread on microchipping that you may be interested in:

http://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/188498-microchipping-opinions.html

I can't tell you about any risks to chipping, since I haven't heard of any (besides the chip moving or falling out). Gypsy is not microchipped, but I do plan to have it done.

Also, vaccines do not cause autism. So rest your mind. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Kirsten&Gypsy XD I know, I was commenting how ridiculous it is to blame a vaccine for autism. My brother is autistic, and I was once diagnosed with a very mild case of it. I see so many "don't vaccinate your kid/pets" websites that make me roll my eyes, and thought it possible the Dogs Naturally site was just one of those.
Thank you for linking to the forum thread, I'm reading it now.

Yumehime, I have heard of it being mandatory in many parts of the world, thank you for confirming it!

Kayota, I did worry about the anesthesia. I had planned on having it done when the dog was spayed/neutered as I do not feel I would be able to breed as responsibly as I need to be at this time. I thought, if the dog were already under anesthesia, then it would not need additional anesthesia for the tattoo.

I also worry about people who plan on stealing the dog deciding to just... take it. Then who would check for the microchip? I do not plan on leaving the dog unattended at all, but... I had my dog, Spike, taken out of my dad's house. I woke up and he was just gone. It has made me paranoid. I want to be sure if I drop my pet off at a doggy daycare, I won't return to find someone has done something and my dog is gone. I understand that's unlikely! I plan on only going to reputable places with good reviews and referrals, but I just want more peace of mind.
 

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In terms of your dog being stolen, think of it this way; A microchip is a permanent identifier that THIS dog is YOURS. Collars can be taken off and the thief could pretend the dog was theirs, but if a dog has a microchip implanted with your name and contact info... well... how could they explain that one?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ireth0, my concern is people who will decide to keep the dog... I worry it will never get scanned.
 

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Well really, if someone is going to steal your dog and keep it away so it's not found, then no amount of identification is going to prevent that.

The idea is that you would report your dog as stolen, then when a dog was seen matching your description, some identifier would be used to prove that it is in fact your dog, and not just a similar looking one that actually belonged to someone else.

ETA: Also of course, if your dog were to ever find itself at a vet clinic or in a shelter, they would scan for a chip and thus be able to return your dog to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ireth0, that's a good point... I thought maybe a tattoo on the ear with an ID number would mean they couldn't ever hide it if they took the dog to the vet, but I imagine if they really want to keep it, nothing will stop them...
 

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First, microchips don't cause cancer.

Second, you can't control whether someone tries to hide the microchip or not. Most ACs, shelter, and vets will automatically scan a found dog so unless whoever found a dog intentionally objected to that, it's unlikely the microchip could be hidden. And without a microchip it's impossible for a good samaritan to even have a found dog checked. All mine are, and all future dogs will be, too.
 

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Since this thread is about microchipping when should you microchip? I mean I heard it moves in puppies as they grow so when would you do this at the 1 year mark or would you do it at like 10 months when he should be mostly finished growing?
 

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First, microchips don't cause cancer.

Second, you can't control whether someone tries to hide the microchip or not. Most ACs, shelter, and vets will automatically scan a found dog so unless whoever found a dog intentionally objected to that, it's unlikely the microchip could be hidden. And without a microchip it's impossible for a good samaritan to even have a found dog checked. All mine are, and all future dogs will be, too.
If the person objected to scanning for a microchip, would that make them suspicious?
 

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Well I can't speak for everybody, but I would think it was weird.
My clinic scanned both my new dogs (and my cat) when I brought them in for the first time, even though none were found as strays (at least by me, lol). I didn't think it was weird and yeah, I think it would be suspicious if somebody refused a scan. I told them I knew the cat had a chip and the dogs did not (at the time), they gave me some weird placation about why they should scan the dogs, but I knew it was to make sure they weren't stolen or unreturned, though. And that's fine. Ain't got nothin' to hide here. lol
 

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We had Sammy chipped last Thursday. It must not have been too painful. She didn't even flinch when the vet implanted the chip.

We're looking into doing the Smart Tag thing, too.
 

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I have chipped a bunch of dogs. As in I do not know how many. I have chipped a bunch of rescues, I always chip my own dogs myself.

Some chips move most don't. I do not think age has anything to do with it. I have chipped young dogs, old dogs, etc. Merlin I chipped at 8 weeks old. His chip is still in the same spot.

I also have all my dogs tattooed.
 

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I heard about them causing cancer/tumors, migrating, etc so tried to dig up as much info as I could about them. Here's what I got:

To put it simply, there is a risk but it appears extremely rare for a microchip to cause any serious or permanent damage. The risk is insignificant and it's worth that risk to microchip. Microchips reunite pets with their owners every single day. HomeAgain's website claims "Every month, HomeAgain reunites 10,000 pets with the people that love them," and over a million pets have been reunited with their owners through HomeAgain.

That's nice, but what about the risks? You're sticking something under your pet's skin. It can migrate, a cancerous tumor can grow around it, and there can be fatal or permanent complications. Fear not! These are all very rare incidences. An extremely small percentage of pets get tumors or cancerous growths around the chip.

Note: Many of the sources I've cited are anti-microchip sites because they have many of the studies and rare incidences all in one place. I am not anti-microchipping and in fact strongly support chipping; I believe the risk is insignificant as microchips save hundreds and hundreds of lives every day.


If nothing else, read this. This is the bottom line. Keep it in mind as you continue:
"Microchips have been used extensively in pets over the last decade. They are especially prevalent in the United Kingdom, where over four million cats and dogs have received the implants. The British Small Animal Veterinary Association has been tracking adverse reactions to microchips since 1996. They identified a link between microchips and cancer in two dogs.
Two dogs out of four million is a very low number indeed.
It turns out that the strains of mice and rats cited in the studies that first noted the microchip-cancer link had been developed to be especially prone to cancer. In these animals, microchips caused tumors at very high rates. So did anything else that was implanted under the skin. In this case, it may not be appropriate to draw a direct link between these rodents and household pets." [source]​
What percentage is 2 of 4,000,000? It's 0.00005%. I hope you'll remember that bottom line. Microchips carry a risk, but the risk of losing your pet is immensely greater than the risk of cancer or adverse affects caused by the chip.

"You can treat most cancers," wrote a dog enthusiast in a recent online debate about microchipping. "You can't treat a no-kill shelter's last-day policy."

Do Microchips Cause Cancer?
The studies that have been conducted concerning cancer and microchips are not reliable studies.
"A 1998 study of 177 mice reported an incidence of cancer of just over 10 percent. A French study in 2006 noted tumors in 4.1 percent of 1,260 microchipped mice. And a German study in 1997 linked cancer to microchips in 1 percent of 4,279 mice.

None of the studies had control groups of nonchipped mice, which means that there were no "normal" cancer rates to use as a comparison." [source]
Most tumors/cancer are found between the shoulder blades, where the chip is implanted- but that is also the site of vaccinations which is another thing to think about.

As far as I know, there are no scientific studies about microchips that are done with dogs. There are case studies but the experiments are all rats or mice with no control groups, so you can't tell what the difference is. Even if 10% of mice got cancer with a chip, maybe 9.8% would get cancer anyway without a chip. Or maybe only 1.4% would. You don't know. You need a control group and to use the right kind of mice. Can mice compare to dogs anyway?

There are a couple case studies of dogs who had a malignant cancerous tumor attached to/surrounding the microchip. It could be from any number of other things, including (over)vaccination, but it very well could be a direct result of the microchip and it does appear that way.
Dog 1: http://www.antichips.com/cancer/02-vascellari-et-al-fibrosarcoma-2006-overview.pdf

Dog 2: http://www.antichips.com/cancer/03-vascellari-et-al-liposarcoma-2004-overview.pdf

Here is the larger study which included these two dogs, as well as 9 other studies on rodents. Again, keep in mind the rodents studied were prone to cancer and there were no control groups.
http://www.chipmenot.org/pdfs/P074.pdf

Are There Risks Other Than Cancer?
Unfortunately yes, and they can have quite horrible outcomes. There are other very rare occurrences not related to cancer or tumors I've come across, when the microchip is being inserted.

In 2009 a Chihuahua bled to death through the tiny hole created by inserting the chip. Read the full story here. My gut reaction was that the dog must have had a blood clotting disorder or something wrong but it's important to note that the dog did not have a blood clotting disorder as he had previously undergone neutering and a tooth extraction. As mentioned in the story, the space between the shoulderblades is not known to have any major blood vessels. The vet is unsure of why the dog bled so profusely, and was not held at fault.

In 2004 a struggling kitten died immediately after being microchipped, and in another case a cat was neurologically damaged.
"A post-mortemexamination later revealed that the microchip had been accidentally inserted into the kitten's brainstem(BSAVA, 2004).​
In another case a cat suffered severe neurological damage when a microchip was accidentally injected into its spinal column (Platt et al., 2006)" [source]
These incidences of cancer, tumors, death, and permanent damage are tragic to say the least. Microchips are designed to save lives, not cause harm. I've said the risk is insignificant. The risk is insignificant until it's your pet. Until your dog is bleeding out, until your dog has cancer. That is significant and a sobering thought. I still stand by my statement of fully supporting microchips. As of now, based on the science and literature available, every pet I own will be microchipped. Chips save lives. That is the case every day- lives are saved. Remember how HomeAgain saves 10,000 pets a month? On average over 330 pets are reunited with their owners every single day, and that's just one microchip company. I'm not going to be overly worried or intimidated by a 0.00005% risk.

I Don't Want to Microchip! What Can I Do?
One of the best alternatives to microchipping is tattooing. An identification number is typically tattooed on the pet's inner thigh or the inside of the ear. It takes only a couple minutes and therefore pets are not anesthetized for this procedure. Anesthesia carries a risk in itself. If your pet is going under for a spay/neuter or another procedure it would be a good time to get the tattoo done however your pet does not need to be under for a tattoo. There is claim that the procedure does not hurt as pet skin is different from our own but I'm not sure I believe that. Pinch your dog's skin and guess what? He doesn't like that because it hurts. Speaking from personal experience, having a vibrating needle under your skin hurts and the vibration itself is an odd sensation that I imagine a pet may not appreciate.

Tattoos can fade but the number can be reapplied. Dogs with furry inner thighs must be kept shaved or trimmed very short there so the number can be visible.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
JohnnyBandit, I was wondering about the tattooing! Can you give me more information on it? Such as... how do you find who does it, what is the price (or a generalization), how is it done?
 

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My clinic scanned both my new dogs (and my cat) when I brought them in for the first time, even though none were found as strays (at least by me, lol). I didn't think it was weird and yeah, I think it would be suspicious if somebody refused a scan. I told them I knew the cat had a chip and the dogs did not (at the time), they gave me some weird placation about why they should scan the dogs, but I knew it was to make sure they weren't stolen or unreturned, though. And that's fine. Ain't got nothin' to hide here. lol
My vet has known me for years. I work at the law office that represents him. He still scanned Kabota at the first visit.

1. Dogs Naturally is . . . um . . . whackadoodle.

2. Kabota's chip came with a tag for his collar. I thought it a bit odd until I realized that someone considering stealing him would see the tag, know my dog has a chip and leave him be for fear of getting caught. Not every thief is that clever, but the sort of people who sell to medical research labs are. so that's one worry down.

3. Chipping is like piercing, it depends upon the skill of the person doing it. I've seen the vet tech do the chipping. She is so quick and smooth, the dog never knows it happened.
 
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