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Microchipping a dog is often recommended as a way to prevent the dog from becoming permanently lost, or for a way to identify the dog if it is stolen. A microchip is a tiny radio transponder which can be implanted by a veterinarian, or a person trained to do so, such as an animal control officer or humane shelter worker. Typically it is inserted in the skin between the shoulder blades. There are some common minor side effects, and a couple of serious, though anecdotal, side effects.
• Pain - The microchipping process is similar to a vaccination, although the needle is larger. This can cause pain or discomfort in the injection area, especially if the chip is injected into the muscle by mistake
• Swelling - Some swelling can also occur, but should dissipate within a day or two.
• Infection - Although unlikely, a possible side effect of microchipping a dog is infection at the site of implantation.
• Blood Loss - There has been a report of a dog bleeding to death in Los Angeles, where microchipping is mandatory.
• Cancer - There also are rare anecdotal reports of dogs developing cancer at the microchip site. Trials show a small percentage of mice developing malignant tumours at their microchip site, but mice are much smaller in relative size to the microchip
• Risks vs. Benefits - People concerned about the very unlikely potential for a tumour developing at the microchip site must weigh the risk against that of their dog becoming lost. Some people are requesting having microchips removed from their dogs, this procedure requires anaesthesia and a deep surgical excision.

Little or no information is given to pet owners regarding side effects of microchipping. Caroline Davis (Dogs Monthly & Your Horse writer, freelance writer/journalist & commissioned author of over 12 pet subject books) has spent some years researching the effects of microchips and below are links to her articles.

Caroline would welcome the opportunity of speaking to anyone with experience of any side effects of chipping. Please contact us to have your details forwarded to Caroline or alternatively please complete our survey by clicking here. Contact details are not compulsory for the survey but are very helpful allowing us to email you with any queries and also adding weight to your comments.

Data from the survey will be passed to the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association, both of whom are strongly advocating the compulsory microchipping of dogs. Here at Shallowford we firmly feel that implanting a chip into any animal should be a choice.

Many thanks to all of those who have completed our microchipping survey. Of the answers so far received (14 June 2011):
o 88.9% of owners said their dog/puppy was microchipped.
o 12.5% of owners say their puppy/dog has so far suffered an adverse side effect to microchipping
o 37.5% of owners would not have had their puppy/dog chipped had they been informed of possible side effects
o Only 25% of owners feel they were given full fair and balanced information about microchipping. 62.5% were not given any details at all of the possible side effects

Caroline's Articles as published in Dog Monthly are:

What You May Not Know About Microchipping Sept 09

Implanting Doubt June 10

Chip N Spin July 2010

Reliable research and reporting of adverse reactions to micro-chipping animals is slowly emerging. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the problem is much worse than chip manufacturers would have the public believe. An adverse animal reaction website is currently being set up by ChipMeNot USA to try and collect more data.

Chip Me Not - Are Pet Owners Being Misled Regarding the Safety and Reliability of Microchip Implants?