Just Keep The Dog

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To Chip Or Not To Chip

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One of the things I love about Facebook is that when you join pages dedicated to dogs, you are given access to many opinions on many topics.  And this gets me thinking.  The most recent topic I read was of a dog who was reunited with his owner after 15 months of being lost.  The dog was turned in to the local animal shelter as a stray after being gone for 15 months.  After scanning the dog's microchip, the staff contacted his owner and the two were reunited.  What an amazing turnout!  After 15 long months!  What was responsible for this dog's reunion other than the loving people who coordinated it?  The microchip. 

However, in the comments were a few rants claiming that microchips cause cancer in our pets.  A debate occurred with one particular person standing by her opinion that a collar with a tag would do the same thing a microchip does.  She claimed that cancer was not worth it and microchipping is not the answer.  This caused a small uproar, some people were surprised stating, "OMG!  Are you serious?  Cancer?"  Some folks argued, "Everything causes cancer."  Surprisingly, only those who supported the use of microchips referred to studies that showed a small percentage of chipped animals developed cancer.  So out of curiosity, I decided to do my own research.

Studies Show Risk

The American Animal Hospital Association supported the use of microchips and provided guidelines for its placement.  I didn't bother looking at the FDA site because, well, they approve of many foods and drugs that are debunked as safe.  I figured, why bother.


My apologies, that crazy jibberish was given by Bruce, who decided to lay his gigantic head on my keyboard to say hello.

Back To The Topic At Hand

According to the article, Subcutaneous soft tissue tumours at the site of implanted microchips in mice, 0.8% of animals tested developed tumors at the implantation site (Tillmann et al., 1997).  This study was done on 4, 279  mice over their lifespan.  0.8%.  So, yes there is some risk of cancer.  But is 0.8% enough to convince me to NOT support a device that is known to reunite pets with their owners?

Additionally, according to TIME author, Siobhan Morrissey, one microchip-induced tumor study "was conducted in mice specifically bred to produce tumors" (Morrissey, 2007).  How reliable are these studies, really?

In Conclusion

Everything comes with risk.  How many Facebook posts, blogs, and Enquire articles have announced cancer-causing products or all kinds?  Even Mayo Clinic states that many claims and myths about products that cause cancer are false.  The real question is: Are the risks worth it?  In my opinion, regarding microchips, yes.  A collar and tag may do the same thing a microchip does ... provided the tag is updated with updated information and the collar is not removed while the dog is lost.  However, when your pet is turned in to a shelter or vet clinic, the first thing that is accomplished by the staff is a microchip scan. 

But what do you think?  The research is out there.  The stories of reunions are all over the web.  There is definitely a risk (although small) of your pet developing cancer at some point in his life.  It's your pet, it is your choice. 

Reference List:

Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-causes/CA00085

Morrissey, S., Are Microchip Tags Safe?, TIME Health & Family, http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1672865,00.html, 2007

Tillman, T., Kamino, K., Dasenbrock, C., Ernst, H., Kohler, M., Morawietz, G., Campo, E., Cardesa, A., ... Mohr, U., http://www.antichips.com/cancer/07-tillmann-et-al-1997.pdf, 1997

Other Topics

Bruce's Progress On Raw
The raw diet has been working really well for Bruce.  He is 10 days in and so far he has had no transition issues.  He absolutely loves this diet. 

Last Night's Dinner:
Cottage cheese
Probiotic yogurt

1 chicken leg

MWD Beny
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Posted by @Azlynnmcleod
A Note To Bruce
22 October 2013
Dear Bruce,
I absolutely love your doggie smile and how you know we're about to go outside to sit in the patio.  I love how crazy you get when I make my voice sound ridiculously mushy and how you do a puppy run through our tiny apartment, knocking things over with your tail.  You're 90lbs, dude, you aren't small.  What I mostly love today is how you lay your big head on my keyboard as if you're saying, "Enough typing.  Can you hang with me?"  I couldn't get enough of your sweetness.
Love Always,
The Woman
A Loan From God
Author Unknown
God promised at the birth of time, a special friend to give,
His time on earth is short, he said, so love him while he lives.
It may be six or seven years, or twelve or then sixteen,
but will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
A wagging tail and cold wet nose, and silken velvet ears,
a heart as big as all outdoors, to love you through the years.
His puppy ways will gladden you, and antics bring a smile,
as guardian or friend he will, be loyal all the while.
He'll bring his charms to grace your life, and though his stay be brief,
when he's gone the memories, are solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
but lessons only a dog can teach, I want you each to learn.
Whatever love you give to him, returns in triple measure,
follow his lead and gain a life, brim full of simple pleasure.
Enjoy each day as it comes, allow your heart to guide,
be loyal and steadfast in love, as the dog there by your side.
Now ill you give him all your love, nor think the labour vain,
nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again?
I fancy each of us would say, "Dear Lord, thy will be done,
for all the joy this day shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run."
"We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may,
and for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay."
"But shall the angels call for him, much sooner than we've planned,
we'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand."
Thank you for reading today's post.
I love my dog because he loved me first.
I pray dog owners love their dogs as much as their dogs love them.
Don't hit, don't scream
Just love.
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