By Jean Hofve, DVM
Recently there have been a couple of articles circulating on the Internet about the “dangers” of microchips and the potential for cancer.
There are several things you need to know to assess this information:
1. The strain of mice used in these experiments are bred to be especially susceptible to tumor formation. The fact that these particular mice develop tumors is not necessarily applicable to cats or dogs.
2. Any injection, bruise, or other trauma has the potential to cause cancer (fibrosarcoma) in cats. The “killed” rabies, feline leukemia, and feline AIDS (FIV) vaccines are more commonly implicated, because they are designed to create more inflammation in the area of injection. But even giving fluids has a remote chance of triggering tumor formation. HOWEVER, the risk is very slight.
3. The chances of even a strictly indoor cat getting out or lost are much higher than the chances of a tumor resulting from a microchip. Very few lost cats ever find their way home; but having a microchip (and hopefully additional identification like a collar) makes it much more likely you will be reunited with your cat.
4. Literally millions of dogs, cats and horses have been microchipped in the last decade or so. In the veterinary literature I could find only ONE published report of a chip-associated tumor in a dog. The majority of veterinarians posting to the Veterinary Information Network do not see it as a problem.
5. To ensue the best result with minimal risk, the chip should be placed slightly off the midline (away from all acupuncture meridians), and a dose of homeopathic Ledum 30C given immediately afterward.
6. Even though my (Dr. Jean’s) own cats are indoor-only, over the years, two of them have accidentally gotten outside. Fortunately they were found quickly. But–all my animals are microchipped; it’s cheap “insurance” and I wouldn’t have it any other way!