Is your dog's microchip causing more harm than good?
When you start reading all of the things that could possibly go wrong with a pet microchip, it admittedly gets scary.
My pet pooch is microchipped and came with his microchip when I adopted him from a rescue organization at just 12 weeks old. I've rarely thought about it since, judging it as an added peace of mind if my dog were to ever get lost somehow.
But it turns out, there are things to consider when deciding if a microchip is best for you and your pet.
In recently years, rare cases have been reported of an animal's behavior changing once the microchip has been implanted. While this doesn't seem to be the norm, it does bring up some important questions about the safety of these chips that will live inside our furry family members for the extent of their lives.
Dr. Rhonda Casper said she has been implanting microchips as a vet for 20 years, and she's never had a complication.
"Sometimes they migrate and they won't be in the location they're supposed to be, but that doesn't cause any harm to the pet," Casper explained. "I haven't seen one adverse effect with one."
She has also never heard or seen a personality change as a result of a chip.
But after the United Kingdom passed compulsory dog microchipping laws back in April 2016, reports of the dangers and risks associated with the chips really started coming out of the woodwork.
Reports of rejected chips, registration problems and improperly implanted chips are just the tip of the iceberg.
The biggest thing most people feared is the chance that a dog would develop a tumor as a result of the chip, which could not only affect their personality but risk a pet's life.
According to U.K. journalist Lee Connor, chip manufacturers stated the risks of a tumor were "negligible." But microchip tests on mice and rats showed a 1 to 10 percent chance of developing "aggressive and lethal micro-chip induced cancerous growths." Apply those numbers to dogs and there are at least 20,000 pets in England alone who could be affected by these growths.
Casper, however, said all of these reports are unsubstantiated and should be taken with a healthy amount of scientific skepticism.
"I think there was some concern about cancer, but I don't think it's ever been linked," Casper told SheKnows. Casper expanded that the injection site does cause some irritation and inflammation, most notably in cats, which some were concerned correlated with tumors. That claim was never confirmed.
Luckily, in the United States at least, we still have a choice about chipping our pets. So should you get your pet microchipped?
"I always recommend people get their pets microchipped because if you lose a pet, it might be the one thing that brings them back to you," Casper explained.
After reading these reports, I do plan to keep my dog's chip. For me, the safety outweighs the risks. But I do believe it is important to constantly keep manufacturers in check. Asking these questions and doing the research will encourage the technology and the people behind the technology to continue improving rather than becoming complacent, especially considering the fact that one day, it won't only be our furry friends that have implants. Soon, the technology could be used on humans too.