Microchipping Your Bully

The scenarios are all simple and most end with tragic results. Whether it’s an accidental escape or your family dog is stolen from a home or yard, the outcome is typically the same without a microchip; undesirable.

Hundreds of thousands of dogs that come through animal control facilities across the US, are never reunited with their owners, and meet their untimely demise in a shelter. Roughly 13,000 pets are euthanized yearly in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, alone. Imagine the number in larger cities, and then add all of those figures together. The equation leads to a startling rate of unnecessary and avoidable heartbreak and failure to the dogs we love.

Identifying your Bully

Comparing the options, there are several methods of identifying your dog with your family. Wearing a collar with an ID tag, County license and Rabies vaccine tag is the best starting point. The downfall; tags and collars can come off when a dog is wrongfully taken or squeezes itself through a fence.

Another consideration is a GPS system such as Zoombak, which offers services to send you a text message when your dog is out of its area. You can then check the location of the dog via satellite through your computer to find him/her. Again, the only downfall is if the collar comes off, (or is removed). The collar runs about $99.00 and there is a small yearly service fee.

Microchips are permanent identification about the size of a grain of rice, typically implanted between the shoulder blades during a routine veterinary visit. Microchips at a veterinary clinic typically cost between $45 and $65. Some have a small registration fee and yearly fee to maintain service, and some do not.

Many rescue organizations and shelters offer a discounted price to encourage owners to tag their pets. The process is the same but the pricing is typically much less. The American Pit Bull Foundation microchips dogs for $20, registers the chip free of charge for the owners, and there is no yearly microchip fee through the 24 Hour Pet Watch service.

How do microchips work?

Microchips contain a series of letters and numbers specific to one chip. When a chip is scanned, it is similar to scanning a barcode at the grocery store. The chip is entered into a database system and is registered to an owner.

Every day wandering Bullys enter veterinary hospitals across the country. The first step the staff is trained to take, is to grab the microchip scanner. If a chip is present, the dog is reunited with the owners. If not, the dog goes to the closest animal control facility. Being a Bully owner, I can tell you firsthand the grim outcome of the latter scenario.

Microchips and the cancer rumor

Bully owners have expressed concern regarding the rumor that cancer develops at the implantation site. Based on research in lab rats and mice, the animals used in testing that develop cancer are often genetically engineered to be pre-disposed to acquiring cancer. Being in the veterinary field for 15 years, (and having no financial connections to microchip companies) I have yet to witness a single case of a carcinoma stemming from microchip implantation.

“I concede it’s possible that microchips can cause adverse reactions or cancer in some individuals. In that case (which is far from proven in my opinion), microchips are like seat belts. Hopefully you will never need a seat belt. A seat belt will save your life in many, many different types of car crashes. If you happen to drive into a lake a seat belt can kill you. A seat belt is much more likely to save your life than to take it. And another similarity: libertarians generally are opposed to seat belt laws.

My pal Buster is microchipped. And I use my seat belt. I feel both decisions are wise.

That said, I will never voluntarily allow the government to microchip me! But it’s not because I’m worried about cancer”.

Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM

Ultimately, the benefit to microchipping is simple. It is easy to implant, easy to scan, safe, and a low cost, life-saving method. For more information, visit 24petwatch.com or contact the APBF.