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Natural Canine Health Symposium


January/February 2011

Microchips are being implanted in dogs and cats by veterinarians, animal shelters and breeders for identification purposes. Microchips are also being implanted by members of the public who have taken a brief microchipping course; either online or in person.  Fish, ferrets, horses, alpacas, turtles, elephants, birds, llamas, laboratory animals, zoo animals and even snakes are being chipped. But are microchips a reliable form of identification? And are there health risks associated with the implants?

Microchip implants are marketed as a safe and permanent form of identification that lasts the lifetime of the animal. They are also marketed as a way to reunite lost or stolen pets with their owners, to significantly reduce the number of pets in shelters, to identify and punish owners of dangerous dogs; and to prevent bad breeding practices and cruelty to animals.

Reasons used to promote and sell implantable microchips may sound appealing. Before being enticed by carefully crafted advertising that is being used to not only convince people to have their animals microchipped, but also to implement mandatory animal chipping legislation, we should examine the facts.

Consumers are repeatedly told that microchip implants are safe. So safe, in fact, that pharmaceutical giant Merial says scientific studies show that microchip implants are totally painless, perfectly well tolerated by the animal and that there is no risk of itchiness, allergic reactions or abscesses. Merial even claims that European experience shows that microchips are never rejected from the body.  However, published scientific studies and adverse microchip reports recorded by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) prove otherwise.

Scientific studies involving mice and rats show that test animals have developed aggressive and lethal microchip-induced cancerous growths. Scientific reports also show that chipped zoo animals have developed microchip-associated cancerous growths.  Medical reports and scientific studies also reveal that dogs and cats have developed aggressive cancerous growths at the site of their microchip implants.

In 2009, a Yorkshire Terrier named Scotty developed epitheliotropic lymphoma at the site of his Schering-Plough Home Again microchip implant. Little Scotty died within months of developing cancer; his death coinciding with his sixth birthday.  In October 2010, a lawsuit was filed in the US by Andrea Rutherford against Merck Sharp & Dohme and Digital Angel Inc. because her cat, Bulkin, developed cancer at the site of his Home Again microchip implant. The results of the lawsuit are pending.

Many advocates of microchipping say the risk that your pet will develop cancer from a microchip implant is “negligible” to “nonexistent.” Some even say that the microchip-cancer risk is an “Internet urban legend.” But ask yourself how negligible the microchip-cancer risk is if it’s your pet that develops cancer. Ask yourself why decades of scientific data prove that an object implanted in the body can cause cancer, yet nay-sayers of the microchip-cancer risk claim that microchip implants cannot cause cancer.

Animals have also experienced neurological damage as a result of microchips: “A 1.6 kg, six-week-old Tibetan Terrier was admitted with a 12 hour history of acute onset of progressive tetraparesis following insertion of a microchip to the dorsal cervical region,” write T. J. Smith and Noel Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick Referrals in the UK.

Animals have also died due to the microchip implant procedure. In 2004, the BSAVA reported that a kitten died suddenly when it was chipped. “During the postmortem examination the microchip was found in the brain stem,” writes the BSAVA.

In 2009, a young Chihuahua named Charlie Brown died within hours of being chipped.  Charlie died from “an extreme amount of bleeding” from the “little hole in the skin where the (microchip implant) needle went in,” says Dr. Reid Loken, the board-certified veterinarian who performed the procedure.  Lori Ginsberg, Charlie’s owner, says, “I wasn’t in favor of getting Charlie chipped, but it was the law.” Ginsberg adds: “It’s horrible to live in a country where your choices are being taken away and you are unable to make decisions about your family and your life … Politicians should not take away my right to do what is best for my pet.”

“This technology is supposedly so great until it’s your animal that dies.”  Lori Ginsberg, Charlie Brown’s owner.

When presented with cases like Scotty’s, Bulkin’s, Charlie Brown’s and others, many people justify the health risks of chipping by saying that adverse reactions to microchips are rare. The risks however, are vastly underestimated as veterinarians and animal shelters are not required to report adverse reactions so only an extremely small number of these cases are reported.

Although microchip implants are marketed as a permanent form of identification they can stop working or be expelled from the animal’s body. Microchips are also known to migrate and become lost within the body, making identification difficult.

Also, unbeknownst to the majority of pet owners, microchip numbers can be duplicated:  more than one animal can have the same identification number. Barbara Masin of Electronic Identification Devices, Ltd states: “I went to the USDA listening sessions and offered to show them the problem with duplication possibilities, but they didn’t want to see it. The situation is very political”.

“There are certain people involved within the USDA who have very close ties to certain manufacturers. There is an underlying agenda, unfortunately, and this is not for the good of the country.”  Another well-known slogan used to sell microchips is: “Microchips help reunite lost and stolen pets with their owners.” But this catchy phrase is deceptive and provides a false sense of security for pet owners who believe that their pet’s chip can be read by all microchip scanners.

Dr. Patricia Khuly, VMD of the Sunset Animal Clinic in Miami, Florida warns: “… not all scanners are created equal. Some are better than others at reading a wide variety of microchips. That means your pet may get lost, found, scanned and euthanized if the scanner comes up ‘empty.’”

Tragically, an 8 month old American Pit Bull Terrier named Hadden was euthanized at the Stafford County, Virginia, Animal Shelter after the scanner used to read his chip could not detect the implant.  Lisa Massey, Hadden’s owner, says, “They [shelter employees] just explained that they were very sorry … that they had scanned Hadden twice and nothing registered.” Even under ideal controlled conditions, no scanners have 100% sensitivity for all microchips.

Another important point that pet owners must be aware of pertains to recovering their stolen microchipped pet. Specifically, if your chipped pet is stolen, the chip does not guarantee that you will find your pet. Also, recent cases in the UK reveal that the chip does not provide proof of ownership. So, even if you locate your stolen, microchipped pet, it is possible that your pet will not be returned to you. In April 2010, Dave Moorhouse was contacted by Anibase, a microchip database company, asking if he wanted to change the ownership records of his Jack Russell Terrier, Rocky. Mr. Moorhouse told Anibase that Rocky had been stolen and asked where he was but Anibase refused to provide information regarding Rocky’s whereabouts.

Steven Wildridge, managing director of Animalcare, the company that owns and operates Anibase, says: “This is not a choice, it’s an obligation under the Data Protection Act.  If the individuals involved do not want us to pass on their details to the original owner then we cannot do so unless compelled to following a criminal or civil proceeding.”

Although Rocky’s microchip was registered to Mr. Moorhouse, the police concluded there was no criminal case and refused to help him find Rocky. A Huddersfield County Court judge ruled that the situation was out of his jurisdiction. Mr. Moorhouse asks, “What’s the point of having your pet microchipped if you can’t get him back?”

Those who promote and/or profit from microchips also claim that microchipping will significantly reduce the number of pets in shelters. This claim is not substantiated by accurate, long-term, independent studies. In fact, in the few short-term studies that used carefully selected animal shelters to test microchips, scanners and databases, researchers noticed “… microchipping … is not an infallible system, and it is not realistic to expect 100% performance.”
Implantable microchips are also promoted for use in dangerous dogs so their owners can be identified and held responsible for their dog’s bad behavior. The limitation is owners of dangerous dogs will probably find a way to avoid having their dogs chipped. Owners of “dangerous” chipped dogs can also easily have the chip removed, either surgically or by some inhumane method, in order to avoid being identified.

Microchips are also promoted as a way to prevent bad breeding practices and cruelty to animals. A proposal has been made in Wales to implement mandatory chipping of dogs in breeding premises. RSPCA inspector Richard Abbott says the charity has found dogs in “dark, damp, ammonia-smelling” conditions with “no bedding whatsoever” and with “puppies dead or dying next to them.”

Unfortunately, compulsory chipping will not prevent bad breeding practices, unhygienic conditions or cruelty to animals by bad breeders, those involved in puppy mills, or anyone else for that matter. Instead, it is likely that chips and insertion devices will be purchased via the Internet to reduce costs, and the implant procedure will be done by insensitive, untrained individuals in stressful and unhygienic conditions. As a result, puppies will suffer and/or die due to infections, abscesses, bleeding, neurological damage and cancer caused by the implants. Meanwhile, the conditions in which the dogs and puppies live will remain the same.

“There have been concerns about the implanted chip causing problems; various Internet ‘urban legends’ have tried to link microchips and a rare form of cancer. To date, we are not aware of any scientific data confirming this. In our opinion, the risk is negligible to nonexistent.” Dr. Ellen Friedman DVM: Newburgh Veterinary Hospital; Newburgh, NY.

Real-life evidence shows that microchip implants are an unreliable and potentially dangerous form of identification. In spite of the risks, microchip companies and advocates of microchipping continue to mislead pet owners by saying that microchips are reliable and safe. In addition, mandatory animal microchipping legislation continues to be enacted around the world.

It is important, therefore, that pet owners educate themselves regarding problems associated with microchips, and share the information with other pet owners, veterinarians, animal shelters and those involved in microchipping policies. Pet owners should also become involved in the process of reporting adverse microchip reactions, otherwise adverse consequences of microchipping will continue to be grossly under-reported.

It is important that pet owners work together to reverse mandatory microchipping legislation and prevent further microchipping legislation from being enacted.

© 2011 Dogs Naturally Magazine. This article may not be reproduced or reprinted in whole or in part without prior written consent of Intuition Publishing.

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    1. Marty


      I feel very strongly about this mandatory chipping business.

      It’s a violation of my personal rights and an assault on the body of the animal.

      It smacks of police state. Today, dogs, tomorrow humans.

      It is every pet owners responsibility to keep track of their dog, not the states!

      Absolutely goes against every grain in my freedom loving body.

      Thanks for speaking to this important subject.

      As usual, most Americans are asleep at the wheel.

    2. Anne

      I receive a citation it is about my dog, she has all her vaccinations.
      I have not tag her not because I do not want to but because I do not want to chip my dog,
      They telling me this is Mandatory, they are giving me a penalty for $544.00
      it reads this way mandatory dog license, regular dog license plus penalty, mandatory S/N
      mandatory microchip, mandatory rabies vacc.
      mandatory citation processing fee.
      07/09/2014 if corrected i9s submitted on or before 06/18/2014 $ 125.00
      07/09/2014 if submitted on or after 06/19/2014 $544.00
      The letter arrived with the date of 06/24/2014 is this correct and how can I avoid to microchip my dog since they said it is mandatory any suggestion?

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Anne, this is a legal issue on which we can’t advise you. I recommend you thoroughly research all your local ordinances to find out what the law says. Usually city/county/city ordinances are available online.

      • Jerod

        Anne, you must live in Riverside County. I received the same threatening letter (after the response date, mind you) stating the total for my “infractions was 544.00, itemized the same way. The exemptions state that the dog will not have to receive a chip implant if the owner can prove, by written verification from a licensed vet, that the chip will cause adverse health effects to the animal.

        I am trying to find a vet in Hemet who will write this letter. There needs to be a public outcry against this. IMO it is a violation of my rights to privacy as a pet owner.

        Does this magazine have any info on So. California vets who are against chipping?

        • Paula Anderson

          I live in Riverside County and called my own vet of 25 years. He absolutely would not write a letter saying that microchipping my small dog could possibly harm her. I called other vets also and got the same answer. I had no choice but to give my dog away to a relative who lives in another county. What really sucks is that Riverside County makes no effort whatsoever in my area to find out whether or not dogs even have a license (MOST probably do not) and yet they are demanding that the animals of owners who obeyed the law and paid for their dog’s license chip them!!! That is infuriating!!!

    3. deborah

      I have a [up almost 5 months old microchipped he sctatches at it I can feel it by his spine left side..I would like it removed??

    4. Meaghan Simpson

      I got SOOO inspired by your blog that I exploded into alternatives to chemical vaccines, homeopathics for heavens sake. Just for the micro-chip record, I am a dog lover forever and my dogs introduce me to a lot of dogs and people so over past 11 years we have known of numerous dogs who have had tumors DEVELOPE around the microchip implant and the migrating chips. I had enough weird scary costly stories and proof in my face to make me decide not to allow my animals to be chipped! It is just not worth it. May be not at first, but down the road this unnatural implant may cause a cruel costly crisis. Another thing is the emissions from the chip are always emitting whatever they emit that the scanners a pick up. With all the Wifi, microwaves, cell towers and smart meters ever expanding along with all the other digital waves for TV and Radio, etc…. Well our animals stories of illnesses due to overload by Electro Magnetic Fields hypersensitivity… Makes ya wonder how much more our critters can stand as they are trapped in our human toxics wacko synthetics? How Poison free a home do you and your animals live in? Household cleaning pure clean green and love your critters, know what I mean?

    5. Meaghan Simpson

      Thanks a lot Dogs Naturally for reporting harms of micro chips and vaccines! Since there is no central data reporting collections from veterinary associations or gov agencies about these casualties/victims, the onus is on us people to report the facts that are insanely ignored by the profiteers who like to keep their heads in the sand and pretend they are doing no harm, when nothing could be further from the truth! Same insane system for people medicine and Big PHARMA poison synthetic killer drugs are leading cause of death in USA and if they
      Get their way all of their killer drugs will be over the counter access to anyone who has the money any day now!
      The whole world is a mad monster lab experiment from hell with Big PHARMA and another 100,000 deaths in USA due to some dirty poison nasty drug kills enough loved ones people get up a class action suit and try to get the drug banned! Oh by the way a law exists that prevents anyone from suing a vaccine maker for maiming or killing you, your child, AND I AM SURE YOUR PETS fall under this obscene law that robs citizens of ANY RECOURSE FOR ADVERSE BAD SICK OR DEADLY SIDE EFFECTS DUE TO VACCINES! So How insane is it to choose to vaccinate anyone or pet when you are surrendering all rights to redress?!?! We inform you to look up your rights to waiver of vaccines based on religious rights, medical rights, philosophical rights… Check out your state’s options, then claim them! AFTER ALL OF THE HORRORS WE HAVE SEEN AND LEARNED OF, WE BEGAN 12 YEARS AGO OPTING OUT OF ALL BIG PHARMA VET VACCINES AND USING HOMEOPATHIC CANINE NOSODES WITH GREAT RESULTS FOR ALL CANINE SHOTS THERE ARE HOMEOPATHIC CANINE NOSODES COVERS EM ALL AND RABIES WITH GREAT RESULTS NO NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS! They are available via a Veterinarian and ours comes from Newton’s Homeopathics, which offer human and animal products which are both over the counter and those available from a licensed healthcare professional. Call them to find out specifics criteria for acceptable professionals to order NOSODES. I had a pro natural pet care veterinarian who turned me on to Newton’s, always orders refills. VERY AFFORDABLE! THEY COME IN LITTLE TINY SUGAR PELLETS or THEY COME IN ALCOHOL DROPS. I found the sugar pellets are “treaties” for my dogs eagerly lap em right up. The alcohol they find offensive and hate droppers trying to get it down their tiny throats, no fun! Many a person has been led to much healthier personal care, by learning about the hazards of chemical medicine and junk processed fake foods as they wreck havoc with our animal family and friends and we learn of the alternatives by seeing profound healthy results. I want to adopt a little dog that needs a home,
      And there are so many adorable smart dogs in the shelters BUT the shelters vaccinate, micro-chip every dog and they use some harsh unnatural de-wormers which mess up their guts… All the hazards are scary for the heàlth of a dog …once they come into my life their my family and there is no turning back. I fully support Natural Rearing for sure it is possible to raise champion show dogs and travel around without the toxic vaccine certificates… Somehow there must be because so many breeders in the Natural Rearing Directory of Breeders
      Are show dog people. So does anybody know if and how it is possible to live outside the conventional gov
      Issue chemical certifications and raise the most natural healthy dog family members? HOW DO WE CLAIM SUCH RIGHTS FOR OUR CANINE COMPANIONS?

    6. Elsa Lalique

      We bought two kittens that came with Microchips. We made appt. with our vet to have them removed the next time they had a check up. Several months later, we made the appts. and the microchips migrated, one kitten’s to the upper side of the neck against the artery and the other kitten’s was wedged between the shoulder blade and muscle causing scarring and muscle tearing. $1,000.00 to have both removed but well worth it and it was NOT an option for us. They cause cancer and seizures according to sources we interviewed. Both these kittens drank large amounts of water and all that stopped the day the chips were removed. We had to have water bowls all over the house. Now we just have one. Would Love to hear of similar incidents.By the way, these are not small chips, they are magnetic rods and what effect do these magnets make on the pet’s system?

      • Sheree Michels

        I can’t find a vet that will remove our dog’s microchip. We got him from the local Humane Society and
        they chipped him before we got him. I live in Northern California. Can you recommend someone here or somewhere in California where we could go? Thanks.

    7. laurie

      I think you hit the nail right on the head Becky. Every person is different just like every dog or other animal. I have two chihuahuas and a great dane, they are all microchiped from young puppies and they have not had any issues. Not everyone is allergic to peanut butter so should we all stop eating it? If that is the case, we should all stop eating shellfish, peppers, onions, etc. No one should be given ANY type of medication. We should kill all the bugs that bite and the poison ivy etc. You know what, let’s just get rid of this whole planet. Do you see how quickly this gets completely out of hand?
      Instead, just do your best to be an informed consumer, even though it’s getting harder everyday to do so. Take calculated risks and knew what to look for if things start to go wrong and what you can do to help.
      I am very concerned about vaccines as I don’t trust the current schedules as being correct. I think they are given too often and in extreme doses which are more dangerous for small dogs. I don’t not give them because I think that they are beneficial, just not at the recommended intervals.
      Good luck all and keep sharing information to help everyone. Remember, everything in moderation.

    8. Janie

      This makes me feel very uneasy. My dog is micro chipped and I was going to have my cats done, too, but now, I’m hesitant. I have lost TWO cats to Vaccine Acquired Sarcoma (VAS) and they tell me it’s rare. It was absolutely horrifiic. You think you’re doing the right thing and then they get cancer from it. Sounds like the micro chipping could be headed in the same direction.

      • CJ

        Janie, do you know what VAS is? It’s a cancer caused by the vaccine. In other words, you lost two cats due medical/veterinary malpractice.

    9. Laura

      I had my cats microchipped last year. All are in Perfect health. I’m glad I got it done, as recently one of our cats decided she’d go exploring for a couple of days.
      Contacted Anibase t alert wardens and vets of her going missing, (We’re registered with Locate) and went out looking for her near to the last place she’d been seen.

      Lucky for us someone found the cat, took her to a vet 4 miles away, and we were contacted to come and collect her with proof of her Microchip ID and of who I was. Now she’s home. Had it not been for that microchip, I dread to think what would have happened? Would some kind soul have taken her in? Would she have been handed over as a stray and destroyed?

      Microchips may have some adverse affects, but then so does crossing a road… I’m not going to stop going out because of that. Point being.. Everything can carry a risk.

      I would also get any further pets chipped, but I will be keeping an eye on the implant site a little more often than usual.

    10. Tim B

      Here is another problem I just learned regarding microchips and pets: The databases are unreliable.

      Back in 2005 I had a “Home Again” chip implanted, and registered (for life) in my Chocolate Labrador. He was lost for a few days in 2006 so I alerted Home Again. He was later found, not by his chip but his collar dog tag. I informed Home Again and the alert was turned off.

      Jump a head to present day March 2013. I wanted to verify the registration with the now called “New Home Again” and they had no record of his number. This was very strange. I called them and they tried to convince me that I never registered (or as they now say “enrolled.”) I knew this was BS so I pressed to talk to a supervisor who said they merged years ago with an AKC chip registry and it must have been misplaced….BS again. The supervisor named Ramona did register/enroll my chip number, but when the email confirmation came it says it expires in one year. BS again.

      I think Home Again, changing their business plan in an effort to increase their revenues, dumped the old registries, of which I belonged. Now they require all owners (even us who thought we previously registered for life) to pay $20 each year.

      My Vet says they have stopped using Home again chips and are now using a different chip maker, AVID who doesn’t charge an annual fee and doesn’t play games.

      • Casey

        HomeAgain is beyond crooked. Even if you register your animal today, the information is supposed to be attached for life. The annual payment if for pet ID cards (half useless at best) and alerts to be sent out if you report your pet as lost. So whoever told you that it was $20 a year just for the information was lying to you.

        Not that the information being in there will do you any good. Very long irrelevant back story, but I got in a dispute in late 2011 with a very bad “rescue” (I know there are many out there who do great work, but this one only saw dollar signs. To he** with the animals and humans involved). They filed a false report with animal control in retaliation. All was cleared up shortly, but not before all of my dogs were scanned and their buddy who worked there gave them the numbers. In February 2012 I contacted them with concerns they would try to change the information out of spite because I was told point blank before “we are not an owner identification service”. So they do not question rescues and shelters. No one ever bothered to contact me at all.

        Fast forward a year to the day. I log in to their website to check my pets profiles (something I do all the time now) and one of my dogs is missing. Cue the major freak out. I call them and the person who answers the phone doesn’t want to tell me anything, other than I am not the owner (he used that word!) and they will have call them to get the okay for me to register him to me (after I pay the fee again of course!!!). After going round and round 20 minutes I get sent to a supervisor who was able to pull up enough information to tell I was first person to register him and that I did NOT ever give them permission to change it! However, she could not tell when or how it was changed. I would have to all IT the next day.

        The man I got was very rude. He started asking me if I had proof he was mine. NO ONE asked me to provide papers when I paid the fee in January 2011. NO ONE asked the “rescue” to provide proof he was theirs (which they had NONE, he was NEVER their dog. I didn’t even get him from them). Yet I get questioned after I catch them FAILING to do what I PAID them for! Then he said they might have put in the wrong number when “syncing with their system”. Not by a long shot, but that opens a whole new issue he just confessed to. It is possible for a honest person in an honest rescue to make a small typo in their database and change the wrong animal over, even if they are already registered. What happens then if they get lost? How many people check that sort of thing regularly?

        I’m with you, AVID all the way. I’m really considering going so far as getting the HomeAgain chips removed, not just getting a new AVID chip put in.

      • AnnD

        Home again does NOT charge an annual fee for basic service; only there upgraded service with extra features which I don’t subscribe to. My local SW WA Humane Society uses their chips so I took my dog there (as they get a portion of the proceeds). For $25 that was it; I have since moved and was not charged a fee to change my address. I just adopted a cat who has an Avid chip; never registered with the original owner. Just called Avid and they want $19.95 to do it AND then $6 per address change. Guess I have no choice.

    11. mee

      I recently had my two cats microchipped while they had a dental cleaning. This is the second thing I have heard about microchipping being linked to possible sarcoma. The other was someone whose cat developed sarcoma at the site of the microchip. I’m very concerned now and I wonder if I should have them removed? Is it safe to remove them? One of my cats has fiv and I’m worried if he ever got lost and was taken to a shelter that he could be euthanized due to that. I’m not sure what to do now. I just had a cat who had a bad Convenia reaction- she was fatally ill, but nevertheless I believe Convenia caused a severe anemic reaction in her. Please me my video at You Tube: Just Say NO to Convenia about the dangers and risks of Convenia.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Now that they are in, you might be best to leave them, given your circumstances. Removing them isn’t that easy, especially when the migrate.

      • Barbara Nelson

        I have a 13 year old male Cairn Terrier that I had microchipped as a puppy at approximately 3 months old. He was also a show dog so I wanted to be sure I had a way to help him find his way home in the event he ‘escaped’ from home as Cairn’s are known to do.

        Two years ago, my Cairn developed a type of cyst/boil in between his neck and shoulder. I thought he might have had a bug bite or thorn that perhaps was infected so I watched it for a while as it grew and “ripened”; it was very sore to the touch. It was also irritated by his collar when we walked on leash. I was going to take him into the vet but I first thought I would but a warm compress on it to see if it would come to a head naturally. Well, that worked; the thing broke open and oozed lots of pus, blood and a rice sized object that was his old microchip! I trimmed the hair around the wound, cleaned it out well and let air help it heal. He was fine but he no longer has his microchip. We moved several times since it had been implanted and changed vets anyway which made it obsolete. Now that he is old, I am not concerned that he will ‘escape’ any more so I never administered a new one. I have a rescue Cairn that also has a microchip but so far, no issues with that. Its natural for the body to expel foreign objects or do like an oyster does with a grain of sand and form a calcification around the irritant. It’s probably still worth doing but there should be one, national standard for detecting microchips I think rather than many different kinds.

    12. Kathryn Hicks

      I have recently had two of my horses micro chipped without my permission. I am furious and fearful about this and want these things taken out. I need some advice as to where to go to have this done. Most vets tell you that it is impossible but I do not believe this. I live near Toronto, Ontario so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

      • Dog Rescue Mom

        Kathryn – Call other vets. Microchips can easily be removed by a competent vet. We rescued a dog from a shelter who had 2 microchips implanted by mistake. Our vet removed 1 when the dog was under anesthesia having her teeth cleaned.

        DN: Thank you for this article. My brother’s cat developed cancer at the site of her microchip implantation. You’re absolutely right – it’s statistical information until it happens to your beloved pet. Our rescue is looking at alternative methods of pet identification other than microchips. Unfortunately, shelters are always way behind in anything having to do with animal health. Too many small animals suffer permanent immune system damage from improper and over-vaccination yet the standard vaccine protocols continue. I’m very grateful for this wonderful resource. Keep up the great work!

        • Rick taylor

          Hi we were talked into a micro chipping our dog during her spaying. one week later and she is infected with one hard golf ball sized lump and a soft lump. my vet did not warn us of any risks associated with micro chipping and we told it was risk free. Well its not risk free and after researching Ive learned any procedure where a foreign body is placed into person or animal can react negatively! We weren’t told about chip migration! Or the tumor risks no matter how slight they are! I’ve learned that the BVA in Great Britain has lab results on mice and rats showing a 1 to 10 percent chance of a tumor develop from micro-chipping. albeit that seems low until you bring two thing into perspective. first in Great Britain there are 2 million dogs, best case scenario would be that 1% will get tumors, that would be 20,000 dogs! Next what if your dog were one of the 20,000? Does that change the perspective? would you not want to be informed about this before making your decision on getting your pet chipped? We were sold on this micro-chip like the extended warranty on a DVD player from Walmart. Now I want it removed and I’m seeking legal counsel on this because it seems people are being misled into this decision purely on someone else making a profit! Even a sales person selling you car has to be more forthcoming than this. If this procedure was being done on you wouldn’t you want to know all the risks associated with the procedure no matter how slight? what if you got an implant and you find out about these risks after the fact, no matter how slight wouldn’t you be angry?, And now its infected, wouldn’t you want it removed for free? So whats wrong with this picture? there is a thing called full disclosure so why are vets not disclosing this! I really believe there is legal argument to be won on this for anyone who peruses!

    13. MickeyM

      I adopted a coonhound in 2007 and had her microchipped. About two weeks ago on a Saturday evening, I noticed she had a large open area on her left side that looked like someone had bitten her. I have rescue, so I am very familiar how to treat a wound of this type. I cleaned the fur around it, cleaned it with peroxide and alcohol, applied a topical spray and loosely bandaged it with gauze. I also started her on an general antibiotic. I called my vet on Monday who agreed with my treatment and told me to keep an eye on it. Keeping it clean and treating it several times a day, as well as giving her antibiotics; the wound healed quickly in about 5 days. Then about a week later, I noticed it was somewhat hard near the wound site which had healed and fur had even begun to grow back. I pressed on it gently and her MICROCHIP came flying out along with some bloody fluid. I took her to the vet and what happened was that the chip moved from her shoulder bladed to her side and caused an abscess!!!!! There was never any raised lump on her skin at all, but it ruptured but the chip did not come out and there was no oozing of any kind to give either of us the impression it was an abscess. It is healing now that the microchip is out of her body and the vet has advised me not to implant another one.

      LONG STORY SHORT – THIS HAS IMMENSELY CHANGED MY ATTITUDE TOWARD MICROCHIPS. I keep my dogs in a dual fence – hard fencing and buried fencing, plus their collars have their rabies tags and identification tags on firm-fitting collars. This is the only time I’ve seen this in years of rescuing dogs, but once was enough!

    14. Fionnait

      Great article! I’ve been trying to raise awareness of the dangers of microchip implants in mini donkeys…and this was a great source of info! (There are more and more cases of serious side effects in horses as well.) People need to know that it’s not 100% safe…for dogs or any other animal!

      • mickeym

        Fionnait…see my comment on the site – I had a coonhound with an abscess on her side after having an microchip implanted 5 years ago…when we excised it out came the microchip down on her left side – NOWHERE near the injection side between the shoulders. It left a large wound and scar.

    15. Becky Stearns

      Wow, I got my cats microchipped at age 3 months and now are 6 years old in perfect health. In ferrets, a small percent die from allergic reactions to rabies shots. 2% is the normal bad reaction percentage of new medicines in humans, like my mother is allergic to sulfa, my sister and niece are allergic to penicillin, and my cousin had an allergic reaction to her chemotherapy. So do we stop for a small percentage or continue on accepting not every microchip, vaccine, and medicine is not equal in everyone.

    16. What stands out to me in this article is freedom of choice with any procedure for pets or humans. It is our responsibility to do what is best for our pets and it is up to us to do our homework and be educated on the choices that are out there. All articles I read are invaluable whether I agree or not, they give me information I need to make the best decision I feel are right for my pet! Wearing blinders and not being open to options and opinions limits our freedoms as a society!
      I share natural health options with people for themselves and their pets everyday and have found most to be appreciative of the information I provide. It then becomes their freedom to choose!

    17. Kathy Kawalec

      DN: Snarking readers does not help to promote the important cause of educating the animal-loving public of their choices. It dilutes the credibility of this site and the credible contributors of information and education.

      I think it’s important not to loose sight of “best practices” in journalism.

      First, authors of all the articles should be displayed. Who is the mysterious “Dogs Naturally” author?

      Second, if an author is citing studies and making scientific claims, these studies and claims must be fully supported with references and links in order to be considered credible.

      If the article is simply a personal opinion based on experience and/or anecdotal evidence, the author should simply present the info in that manner without citing studies or “scientific” evidence. And, the author’s name must be displayed.

      There’s good information on this site…keep it clean and credible!!

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        This article is a Featured Article from one of our past issues. The author and related information are in the magazine but this information did not get included on the blog post for some reason. For more information, please contact http://www.noble-leon.com/
        Please also remember that Dogs Naturally is a magazine and not a scientific journal. We do not often post or publish references in articles for this reason. Readers can always contact our authors for more information or sources of references but we don’t want to clutter up articles with long lists of references. This can be better accomplished on our social media sites.

        • P. Love

          Excellent article, DN! I disagree with Kathy’s comment and find the article not only informative, but ‘clean and credible’, too, with no need for credit being given to an individual author. I’ve seen too many nasty ad hominem made upon people who question the safety of products.

          I have a science degree and my readings about pet microchips have led me to think that unless a pet is at the higher end of the risk scale for getting lost, I’d prefer to use a tagged collar. California shelter seem to routinely microchip all pets as if they are livestock and are shipping many toy breed dogs to OR and WA since people in CA seem unable to adopt them there. (But some sure can breed and dump them efficiently.)

          I would worry that a small dog would find a rice-sized implant more irritating than a large breed would. The consequences of migration might be worse, too. I’ve heard a veterinarian admit that he was having to do a number of chip removal procedures.

          If shelters want to find homes for pets, they should respect that it will be those new owners who will be paying for future veterinary bills, and suffering emotionally if their pets are in discomfort or seriously ill.

          • P. Love

            That should be “ad hominem attacks.”

    18. Dogs Naturally
      Dogs Naturally

      Joe, do you really think that the literally billions of dollars spent on research with mice is actually to improve the health and welfare of rodents? If there is zero predictability between studies on mice and the implications for humans and other mammals, then please enlighten us why most physiological scientific research is done on mice? Last I checked, nobody is microchipping mice so your theory might be a bit flawed.

      • joewilson

        Is that what I said? No.
        I’m amused how you attacked my analogy and didn’t actually address either of the two concerns I pointed out. I say we stick to the point.
        If you want an accurate assessment of microchip safety in a cat or dog over a prolonged period of time, you stick it in a cat or dog and wait a prolonged period of time. Can’t see how you could get any more accurate than that. The preliminary testing done with rodents is used as a litmus where extreme sensitivity (in this case to foreign bodies causing fibrosarcomas) is desired. The only thing it tells researchers is the upper threshold for complications. It’s a way to ensure you aren’t about to kill a whole bunch of dogs. Once you actually start implanting the devices into their intended hosts do you obtain credible data. If you ran a quick google search you would see a multitude of data from UK domestic animal studies and US livestock trials suggesting microchips are not the “dangerous” doomsday devices you claim them to be. You’re looking at health complication rates of less than 1%. Try finding even a vaccine that can do better.

        And you still didn’t acknowledge that progressive tetraparesis can only be caused by contacting the microchip with the animal’s spinal column. That’s not the microchip’s fault, that’s an uneducated buffoon implanting that thing FAR too deep.
        And yet you make absolutely no mention of that. It goes along with the rest of your sensationalism. If performed by an adept technician, microchipping also should not cause hemorrhage, infection, or abscesses like you claim it will. You say untrained people are jamming these things into animals? Not a problem with microchips. People should know better than to try doing it themselves or anywhere other than a veterinary office. It’s a user problem.

        Let’s hope that cleared things up for you. And maybe you learned something. After all, I’d like to think animal-conscious people aren’t being fed sensationalist scare stories.

        • Dogs Naturally
          Dogs Naturally

          It’s only sensationalism until your own animal is affected…then it is reality. If you wish to play roulette with your own dog or cat, that is your perogative.

          • Brad Lane

            “It’s only sensationalism until your own animal is affected…then it is reality. ”

            No, it’s sensationalism when you overblow the likelihood of adverse reactions by a country mile. Virtually ever drug, medical device, or medical procedure has -SOME- possibility for adverse reaction. That doesn’t mean people should refuse medication, surgery, or artificial hips… or that irresponsible publications should wildly exaggerate those risks and try to scare people away from them.

            Even if your animal does have a bad reaction, that doesn’t mean chips are unsafe. It means you got very, very, very unlucky in the face of very, very, very good odds. I’m sorry for anyone who experiences it, but I wouldn’t suddenly trust their judgment over the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people who’ve had their dogs microchipped without incident. If anything, they’re too close to their own experience to be objective… like a child bitten by a dog and who is then forever terrified of them all.

            Would you stop flying because someone you knew was in a crash? Would that suddenly make air travel less safe simply because it hit closer to home? No. It wouldn’t. It mean that the person you knew was one of the very, very, very few who were terribly unlucky.

            • Matt

              Brad and Joe are correct – sorry Dogs Naturally but you are just a part of the “urban legend” that has no data to support your information.

              Hopefully dog and cat owners will listen to the educated community instead of the author of this article. In medicine we look at what are the benefits and what are the risks of a medical procedure. When the benefits far outweigh the risks then that procedure is deemed worth considering. In the end it is always the owners decision of what to do with their loved companion. When it comes to microchips, losing a loved companion that has escaped or got out of the yard is much more common then any complication as microchip could cause.

              I have worked in a veterinary practice for 20 plus years and have seen a dog that is lost come in at least 2-3 times a month and when they do have a microchip it is a wonderful situation to call the owner and reunite them. How many problems from microchips have a seen? One – that was a sterile granuloma (benign inflammatory mass) due to improper administration of the chip from a breeder. Once the granuloma was removed the dog was fine.

              Am I saying that cancer and complications are impossible? NO not at all, though these are very rare compared to the non-complications.

              Therefore having all of the information is always important when making a medical decision, but do not believe a biased non-informed article like this that ha no evidence to back it up showing that the risks are more common then the benefits.

              On a side note – Merial would never say that administering a microchip is “totally painless.” This is absurd and a true showing of how uninformed this article truly is.

    19. joewilson

      The author of this is an absolute moron.

      You cite cancer studies from mice and rats like they’re actually relevant to other animals. Rats and mice are notoriously sensitive to foreign bodies and should not be compared to dogs or cats. Might as well try to convince me LD50s for canaries prove human flatulence is an imminent health crisis.

      “Animals have also experienced neurological damage as a result of microchips: “A 1.6 kg, six-week-old Tibetan Terrier was admitted with a 12 hour history of acute onset of progressive tetraparesis following insertion of a microchip ”
      Maybe if the veterinarian wasn’t a complete tool and didn’t implant it into the spinal column that wouldn’t happen, eh?

      The rest of this is shock journalism. It disgusts me that people like you actually have a right to think.

    20. Mills

      PS – I agree that micro-chipping is highly oversold and not the end-all be -all of getting a dog home, but as far as the information you are citing on cancer. I’d personally like to see those studies.

    21. Mills

      I would like to know where you get your source of information.

      It’s very easy to cite “studies show”, and “studies have found”, I really appreciate it if you would at least list your source or material of where these studies can be found.

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        We publish articles, we do not write them, so we suggest you contact the author if you would like more information. Having said that, we do due diligence on our articles and they are backed by as much science as possible in this field. There are at least eleven studies that show cancer at microchip sites, two of them in dogs. “Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990–2006″ by Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D. summarizes all of these studies. If you would like more information or access to the research, visit: http://www.antichips.com/cancer/

        • Mills

          Thank you for the information, although the mandate of the antichips.com site seems to be more focused on invasion of privacy rather than on cancer, in fact the FAQ’s seem to dispel quite a bit of the cancer myth, also the study does not state that the cancer in the dog is a result of the chip, it only denotes that the dog developed cancer, however goes on to suggest that the cancer “could” have been from inoculations ( which personally I am far more inclined to believe), so I’m not quite sure why you would suggest this as a reference material to help promote your own theory on chips and cancer. – but thanks for the information.

          • Dogs Naturally
            Dogs Naturally

            Please read back next week – we will publish an article with references to studies. They are there and we think this is more of a blog post than a response.

          • Dogs Naturally
            Dogs Naturally

            Also, I’m not sure you’ve read the entire site. Please refer to this page – http://www.antichips.com/cancer/ – and you will see an outstanding summary of all relevant research and the results.

    22. If your dog is solen call the police right away and ask to file a report. This will create a record of the theft and make it easier to retrieve your pet if you happen to see her or hear of her location. This needs to be done if your pet is chipped or not.

      • Lilianna Juhasz

        If dogs, cats and horses were meant to be microchipped, there would be a microchip tree growing in the Rainforest. That same philosophy should apply to humans, just substitute the word drug for microchip..
        This planet and all of it’s inhabitants evolved in a state of equilibrium/ homeostasis. For every problem there is a solution within nature, We just have to find it, respect it and not destroy it in the name of progress. We are prescribing/ being prescribed man made medications that have no natural equivalent and then dealing with the after effects of “Better living through chemistry”. I have seen human patients show up with bags full of prescription drugs that attempt to restore systemic equilibrium after having developed side effects from on or two “index” prescriptions. Drug reps push their products on overworked medical practitioners who rarely have time to read the pages and pages of information accompanying new drugs and prescribe based on sketchy information presented verbally by the rep, Then they prescribe additional drugs as patients come in reporting new symptoms that are in actuality, the side effects of previous prescriptions. As time passes, the new and improved drugs are recalled and lawyers get to make money from lawsuits against drug manufacturers who are notorious for excluding “outliers” from their test data. This is the state of financial equilibrium of pharmaceuticals. Make billions, settle for millions and everyone is happy if you compensate the victims or victims families for their loss. Likewise, the manufacturers of microchips are not concerned about pet welfare, but about profits. After all, no one is really harmed since cats and dogs are abundant, If one dies of cancer, the owners will just go out and buy another one…


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