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On the Anatolian list today, there's a link to a Dr. Katherine Albrecht Radio Show
where the guest is a woman whose 6-month old dog died in her arms as a result of being microchipped. In the press release, it says
“The implants have been widely reported to migrate within animals' bodies, and can cause abscesses and infection. In at least two documented cases, dogs have developed cancerous tumors surrounding or adjacent to microchip implants. “
Cemil's cancer was very near his shoulder, very near where the microchip was placed when he was a puppy. I've been searching for a reason that a 3-year old dog in excellent health (and with no cancer in his close family) would develop cancer when none of the others in the same environment did. Could there be an answer here? The point of the interview is that microchipping shouldn't be mandatory, and this is just one obscure reason of many why it shouldn't be, but it struck me. Statistics would be interesting..
Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today
Thanks for bringing up this important topic and the link. We've often talked about that with friends, but I can't recall discussing it online.
I also had my cancer start up high in the shoulder, very near my scruff by the microchip the humane sciety put in me as a puppy. The surgeon told us it was a little rarer for dogs to have the tumor start so high, but not unheard of. Still, it makes us wonder….
What do you guys think of this?
This microchip /cancer story has been going around for a few years now. It is based on a study in mice where a few had tumors at the microchip site. The one or two dogs with tumors near the site were not proven to be due to the microchip.
If a tumor would be caused by a microchip it would most likely be a fibrosarcoma (similiar to the tumors cats can get from vaccines) because this is a tumor of SQ tissue. You would not expect osteosarcoma, unless the microchip had been implanted in bone.
The main problem with microchips in the States is that different companies have different frequencies which are picked up by different scanners. Shelters are supposed to have “universal scanners” to read all microchips but this is not always the case. The most common chips are AVID and Home Again.
The AVMA did a survey of oncologists after the internet report came out and not one oncologist reported cancers that they thought were due to microchips, yet many lost pets have been reunited with their owners because of this technology! I guess it is a personal choice, but all 3 of my dogs have microchips.
Pam and Tazzie
Wow, thanks for the education and setting the record straight. We had no idea that this was borderline “urban myth.”
I can definitely see the benefits over the risks of having a microchip put in.
me too. All my dogs are microchipped, and it's worth it (now that I understand the urban legend thing) for the peace of mind. Interesting side-story…one of mine, a rescue and a fence-jumper, was picked up by Animal Control, and they didn't read the microchip I put in..they read one from the distant past, many states away. Thought that was interesting, and that maybe I should take my dogs to the shelter and have them scanned just to be sure my microchips can be detected.
Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today
Here's an interesting update to the possible link between pets and microchips, written by Dr. Patty Khuly of Doolittler.
So what's the vet's point of view? I've never much worried about the safety of these implants after the first few years they were available. Seeing as I’d never heard of a reaction — not even a simple infection — I figured we'd put this issue to rest for good. That is, until someone emailed me the story of Leon, a little French Bulldog, which urged me to consider the possibility that Leon’s might be the index case for microchip-related cancer in pets.
Today's Dolittler post by Dr. Patty Khuly discusses Microchip safety: Privacy, public policy, and individual pet health with some interesting links to case studies about rare animal mortality caused by microchips.
But one very important thing brought up by a comment is the issue of magnetic resonance imaging icompatibility. If a dog has a microchip, it makes sense that he/she should not undergo an MRI scan. Period. Not without the chip being removed first at least. For anyone who's pup needs an MRI, please inform your vet if the dog is microchipped.
Jerry was chipped but never had an MRI. We'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has dealt with this.
Tripawds, regarding MRI & microchips:
I'm an MRI tech at a veterinary clinic and we've never had an issue. I've scanned 500+ patients a year for 4 years! The chips do continue working after an MRI procedure (we don't check them all, but the last patient I checked has had two MRI scans within a year on two different scanners – we upgraded between her visits – and her chip still worked fine). There is an image artifact at the chip location, but it very rarely obscures what we need to see. If it does, we can run a different type of scan that isn't affected as much. We don't ask owners if the pet has a chip because it doesn't influence our procedure at all.
I suppose if you injected a chip and immediately did an MRI, the chip could possibly migrate because it wouldn't be encapsulated by scar tissue…but then we would be aware of that and would delay the procedure.
Has anybody heard of an issue? I'm always looking into safety & patient considerations as a tech.
P.S. – I posted the same response on Dolittler and then figured I should just come over here – I love your blog
I'm an MRI tech at a veterinary clinic and we've never had an issue. I've scanned 500+ patients a year for 4 years!
Thank you very much for the clarification Sarah! We had visions of exit wounds formed by the magnet pulling out the chip. Too much Hollywood perhaps.
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13 July 2009
So it is official. Too much Hollywood for our movie star Jerry and his bipeds! I love the gory image of exit wounds with chips flying across the room. Sounds like Aliens or Men in Black crossed with Rin Tin Tin. I never thought of microchipping (is that a verb) Tazzie. But as someone said, if he got outside, where exactly would he go? (He was definitely not a wanderer and would just stand saying “let me in, let me in” unlike my previous alley cat garbage picker of a dog).
In the coyote poo I sometimes work with (sterile poo), we do find microchips from prairie dogs tagged at Grasslands Park. Okay, this is off topic but as close as I can get
Sarah – that is a LOT of MRI's. I would love to find out more about what is involved in an MRI for a dog and what people use them for, especially of course in the context of cancer dx.
I would agree with Sarah that an MRI should not affect the pet or the microchip. My dog Kona had an MRI to see if she was a candidate for spinal surgery and the chip still works fine 3 years later. It did leave a little artifact on her scan but did not affect the results.
I can't begin to count the number of times that we have reunited stray pets with their owners due to a chip. Sometimes collars or ID tags fall off or sometimes pets get startled by loud fireworks or storms and wander off. I have all of my dogs chipped and even though there has now been 1 dog with a tumor I think that the benefits probably outweigh the very small chance of cancer.
20 January 2010
“Sarah – that is a LOT of MRI’s. I would love to find out more about what is involved in an MRI for a dog and what people use them for, especially of course in the context of cancer dx.”
Sorry Tazzie, it wouldn’t let me click “quote” for some reason. Our doctors only use MRI for brains and spines, so my experience with cancer is limited to those areas. Our surgeons generally use x-rays or CT to diagnose most things that would require amputation. For things like small brain tumors, and nerve sheath tumors of the spine or cranial nerves, MRI can be superior to x-rays or CT scans because it’s much better for soft tissue imaging. Very generally, if you’re looking at bone or bone tumors, you want x-ray or CT, and if you’re looking for soft tissue or soft tumors, you want MRI. That varies and you should trust your doctor’s recommendation, but that’s the quick version.
MRI for dogs and cats involves anesthetizing them and performing 1 to 2 hours of scans. We don’t always know what we’ll find before we look, so we can use MRI to tell disk ruptures from tumors from FCEs (basically strokes for animals). I’ve gotten really awful at reading x-rays because all I look at are these fancy things :).
FYI: I have edited the title of this topic because of the new direction the discussion has taken, and the very rare ocurrance of cancer caused by microchips.
Sarah and Pam, thank you very much for your input and clarification.
7 November 2009
I got Rita from the humane society and she was micro chipped…..when her leg started to grow and she went to the doctor to have it measured every few months and visits for a few ear infections, they could NEVER find her chip!!!! No one could find it for about 7 years!!!! The only way that it was ever found was when she got x-rays on her lungs before her amputation surgery…..it's down in her side behind her elbow. I know she won't run away ever so I am not concerned about her.
But because the chips can migrate soooooo far and get lost, should you wait to get a dog chipped till they are a bit older and at least half way done growing? I got her at 3 months old so that is when she was chipped….. I ask so that when I do adopt another dog some day and they are a runner (some just always are), I won't have to worry that the chip is lost in their body and cannot be detected.
I did wonder for awhile if Rita's “boob” had her chip in it and that's what caused it…. it is close to the chip though. But she is part lab and I know they are prone to fatty growths like she has….. with the exception of the freakish fatty leg that caused her leg to have to go, that is not a common thing for any dog.