Can Microchip Identification Cause Cancer?
Recent stories circulating suggest that there is a link between the microchips used in identifying pets and cancer.
Why is this being suspected now?
Previous Presidential candidate Tommy Thompson has been quoted as being in support of the microchips in humans and there are questions about his interest in the microchip company. The opponents of microchipping in humans found a ten-year-old study linking the development of cancer in mice to the microchips at less than 1%. This study was initially looking at X-ray radiation and chemical carcinogen affects on mice. A study in 2001 using rats also found a low incidence of cancer, approximately 1%, due to microchips. Although a two year study in 1990 showed no reaction to microchips in mice. These studies haven’t been repeated and laboratory mice can easily develop cancer.
How many dogs and cats have been diagnosed with tumors related to the chip?
Overall this number is unknown. At Mill Creek Animal Clinic, we have chipped over 1,000 animals and none have developed cancer due to the microchip. A review of veterinary pathology journals cited 1 case in a French Bull dog where the microchip was located near the mass. There is no definitive connection between the microchip and the cancerous mass. On the Veterinary Information Network, a veterinary internet listserv, there has been lively discussion of the story. A few veterinarians report isolated suspicious cases and several oncologists reported none. Millions of animals have been microchipped since the 90’s and veterinary pathologists have reported no outbreaks of cancerous tumors at the site of implantation.
Is it safe?
Every procedure, every choice we make has potential negative consequences. It is important to weigh the risks against the benefits. Is anything 100% safe? NO. There will always be someone or something that reacts differently that the rest of the general population. It is our belief; after revisiting and researching this issue that the chips are extremely safe. The risk of a pet being forever lost or killed in a shelter because the pet cannot be identified is astronomically higher than the risk of cancer developing as a result of the chip. Most of our staff have their dogs and cats microchipped and will chip any additional pets that join their respective families.