The Side Effects of Microchipping Dogs

Microchipping dogs is an effective way of protecting your pet. Breeders, animal rescues and veterinarians typically recommend microchipping as safer way to recover a lost or stray animal.

When chip is embedded, contact information appears after scanning the chip enabling authorities to contact the owner to arrange the reunion between pet and owner. Microchipping a pet does have potential side effects, including pain. It's important that you carefully weigh the risks and benefit.

Some areas mandate microchipping by law. Pet owners may want to see if microchipping dogs is the only option. Identifying tattoos may be allowed instead.

Procedure Involved with Microchipping Dogs

Microchips insert under the dog's skin in the area between the shoulder blades. The chip is inserted through a needle and doesn't take long. It's extremely similar to a shot only the needle is much larger.

Once embedded under the skin, contact information is entered into the microchip database. If your pet ever goes missing, a scan of that area reveals the information a veterinarian or shelter needs to contact you.

Link Between Cancer and Microchipping

While veterinarians believe the risk is low, a few dogs have developed malignant cancer at the site where microchips are embedded. In each of these cases, the dog developed deadly cancer less than five years after the microchips were implanted. In the center of the cancerous growths were the microchips leading some researchers to think there might be a link.

Doctor Katherine Albrecht released a report in 2007 linking malignant tumors in lab mice and rats to microchipping. Upwards of ten percent of the rodents implanted with radio-frequency microchips developed sarcomas. In most cases, the tumors grew rapidly and spread to other areas of the body.

There is question over whether the microchips are truly to blame or if another contaminant may have made its way into the injection site. There is also question over whether the material covering the microchip may be at the root of the cancer.

Other Health Issues Arising from Microchipping Dogs

While extremely rare, a Chihuahua bled out following a microchip implantation. The veterinarian is uncertain what happened, but blood continued to exit through the needle site and the dog died from loss of blood. As the dog had been through a surgical procedure a few months before and did not suffer from a clotting disorder, it's a mystery as to what caused the uncontrolled bleeding.

The needle for a microchip is large and does cause pain. If a pet struggles or moves during the procedure, there is the chance that the microchip will end up in the wrong place. Again rare, paralysis could occur. For this reason, veterinarians often advice microchipping dogs when they are spayed or neutered.

Veterinarians microchip dogs in sterile offices. However, there is the chance that the injection site will become infected. Keeping an eye on the site will help. If any swelling or oozing is present, call your veterinarian.

The most common problem following a microchipping procedure is that the microchip moves. Generally, this isn't a big deal. The biggest issue involves shelters that only scan the shoulder/neck area and don't scan other areas on the pet in case the microchip is in a different location.