Every year, we have far too many run-away pets come through our hospital doors, and we’re always so grateful when they have a registered microchip allowing us to reunite scared pet owners with their lost pets. Personally, after seeing so many escape artists, I worry about my own pets, which is why they are microchipped. Even our indoor cats!
It has been reported that 90% of all lost pets without permanent identification fail to return home. That’s staggering! Microchips provide a permanent method of identification for your pet. Across the United States it is standard practice at shelters to scan a lost or relinquished pet for a microchip. If a chip is found in the pet, AND the chip is registered to an owner with a microchip company the pet has a far greater chance of returning home. HomeAgain®, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of microchips, reports 1 in 3 pets escape, even temporarily.
Occasionally, clients share their concerns with me about the risks of implanting a microchip in their pet. The Internet and “Dr. Google” have posted unconfirmed stories reporting microchip complications. In the United States, the USDA is the entity responsible for tracking complications associated with microchipping; however, their data is not easily accessible. Luckily, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association has put tremendous effort into tracking complications from chip implants in the United Kingdom, where implantation can be performed by anyone. Their data reaches back to 1996. From 1996 to 2009, they report a total of 391 complications out of 3.7 million registered chips. Of the complications tracked, 20 patients developed an infection, and 2 pets developed tumors; therefore, the serious complication rate of tumor formation in the UK associated with a microchip is 0.00059%. In the United States, the tumor rate assumed to be associated with microchipping in dogs and cats is reported at 0.000011%. Compare this with the overall rate of malignant cancer development (unrelated to microchipping) in dogs at 50%!
Unfortunately, the internet statistics on cancers associated with microchipping, that some clients refer to, are from studies involving laboratory mice that were genetically modified to grow cancers!
The doctors at Pine Creek Veterinary Hospital, upon reviewing the medical research and facts, feel that complications are exceedingly rare and believe that the benefits of reuniting a lost pet with their family FAR outweigh the risks. So, if your pet already has a chip, please make sure to keep your contact information current with your microchip provider. If you haven’t had your pet microchipped yet, we strongly encourage you to do so. It is a safe, effective method of permanent identification for your pet. If you’re not sure if your pet has a microchip, feel free to stop by our office and we’ll gladly to scan your pet for you or even implant a microchip. For more information on pet microchips please visit the following websites:
These blog comments, although based in scientific research, reflect our professional opinions only and are accurate and true to the best of our knowledge. They are for informational purposes and do not constitute treatment advice, nor should it take the place of seeking medical attention and a diagnosis from a trained professional. We reserve the right to change these blog comments if/as new research emerges.