Debra Lynn Dadd

Microchips in animals

QUESTION:

I was recently looking at some animal rescue groups websites and have noticed that all of the ones I looked at they note that they microship all of the animals that they have up for adoption.

My knee jerk reaction is that this is NOT good. I just don't see the need to insert a foreign object into my pet so that I can track it. I do understand how it helps when a pet gets lost, but... As an electrical engineer I understand RF and the like and I know first hand how it can affect a person, but this is an animal and biology MAY be a bit different. Also I know that the chip is not ON at all times. As a car accident survivor I know first hand how a body fights against foreign objects beneath the skin, mine was painful but this may not be.

I talked to someone I know at one facility and questioned her on this. And she brought up 'no clinical evidence has been found for this to be an issue'. But did note that 'anything we inject can cause cancer' and that there are 'bigger risks' out there.

I still am not sure that I agree. My problem is that when I want to get another pet I would like to do so through a shelter and it seems they all microchip now. Do you know anything about microchipping? Are there any studies you have that review this?

POSTED BY KELLYLYNN :: MICHIGAN USA :: 01/06/2009 9:13 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

I want to add a personal story and comment to this, now that I am reading your comments.

My husband and I have had one or more cats for most of our 21 years together. For much of this time, we lived in a rural area in Northern California, in a forest. We let our cats roam as they wanted. We never chipped them and we never even put a collar on them with an ID tag.

We had several litters of kittens (which all went to good homes) and in one of the litters there was a black cat and a very white cream cat. They were so cute, and when they curled up together they looked like a Chinese yin/yang symbol, so we had to keep them. The white male we named Merlin, and the black female we named Meemer (where that name came from, I don't recall).

One day, when they were grown, Merlin disappeared. We weren't worried, because we had had cats go off alone from time to time and they always came back. Two weeks later, there was a knock on the door. It was our neighbor down the street. She had our Merlin in her arms. She said that her cat had died two weeks before and shortly thereafter, Merlin came to her. She knew she should have returned him before, but he had been such a comfort to her. She was now returning him to us.

We were so moved by this story that we offered Merlin to her to keep, and she was overjoyed. We had other cats. She had none. Merlin obviously chose to be with her and we could visit him any time. As much as we loved him, we respected his choice and let him go.

In response to the comments that animals should be chipped so they can be found, I like the comment that suggested a tattoo. I'm always wanting things to be most natural. If animals needed chips for themselves, I think Nature would have provided them. Personally, I wouldn't do it. And while I understand the loss of a pet, I think there are way too many dangerous technological "solutions." I'd rather love my pets and have them be healthy and happy than give them a risk that may not be necessary.

I'm a big believer in positive thinking. I've always intended for my pets to be safe and sound with me, and they have been. No chipping needed.


Debra :-)


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

I don't have any data on this, but my logic agrees with yours.

Readers?

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

I am short on time so briefly,
The chips are passive RF so there are no batteries. The injection site reactions (about 1 in one million as tracked) are far fewer than vaccine associated sarcomas that develop in cats (about one in 10,000). Animals generally live far shorter lives than humans so adverse reactions may not have time to develop. However, in the case of long lived birds and reptiles, this may not hold. I owned a dog, five cats and two birds that were microchipped and lived very long healthy lives (the birds were 15 -20, the dog was 16 and cats were 18 to 26! when they died).

As a vet, the only problem I saw with a microchip was one that migrated a little when it was injected. More properly, the skin was likely not held in the correct method when the chip was injected. I did see many feline sarcomas due to vaccines but never one associated with a chip. I also saw dogs and cats hit by cars almost every day as well as bitten by snakes and spiders, eating foreign objects, fighting with each other and so on. I had one feline patient that died from inhaling a small piece of branch from a Christmas tree. I saw many dogs and cats die of heartworms. Of course, I saw a lot of illness that did not end in death. (I say saw because I retired a few years ago due to my own health problems.)

I had a client that was able to retrieve his lost dog from a shelter with the microchip. I had another client that won a lawsuit in which someone stole her dog and it had been previously microchipped. Large and expensive animals are microchipped for insurance purposes. I wouldn't be surprised if all pet insurance carriers begin to require chipping since animals don't have state issued picture I.D.'s.

Many shelters do not have the money to microchip so you may want to look around. Another aspect to consider is that microchipping can be part of a public health program. It allows cities to be certain the animal has been neutered and vaccinated for rabies. It can also help track down and properly identify animals that have bitten a person. You may soon not have the legal right to keep any animal, regardless of origin, without a microchip. If this is important to you, please keep up with the news and legislation and write letters. I don't believe we should force owners to microchip their pets but the talk among legislators is already there.
Carrol

POSTED BY CARROL :: FLORIDA USA :: 01/07/2009 2:58 PM


Your concern is valid. Although I can't direct you to the source, I have read that animals develop cancer at the site of the chip, just as humans are developing rashes and cancer at the site where they keep a cell phone. www.weepnews.blogspot.com posts and archives news related to EMF. Magda Havas, a professor at Trent U in Canada is coordinating an international coalition of working groups. You might be willing to share your interests and expertise. Also, www.emrpolicy.net , Janet Newton.

POSTED BY LAURA :: MAINE USA :: 01/07/2009 4:11 PM


Hi - This is in reference to "chipping" your pet. I have a 8 year old female boxer that has been chipped. She got loose shortly after we got her from my youngest son and ended up at a public school and turned over to the SPCA. I had no choice about the chipping. Though I wish there was another method to use I am afraid that we are stuck with chipping as some states require. You have to consider what is best for your own situation. If you are very fond of your bet, as you probably are, you have to think about what woulld happen if your pet got lost or was stolen. How should you get your pet back? As a concern for cancer, etc., I say that it is of upmost importance to feed your pet high quality dog food and supplement with a good quality vitamin and mineral designed for your particular pet. Keeping the immune system is vital for any protection against most if not all illnesses. Take care of your pet as you would take care of yourself. Hope this helps. Mike Z

POSTED BY MIKE Z :: SOUTH CAROLINA USA :: 01/07/2009 4:19 PM


I have been studying this subject for a while now. It is very dangerous to animals as well as humans. There is a lot on the web about it and I belong to several groups that bring up this subject occasionally. Here is a website that will answer your questions on the safety. It is not safe-it causes cancer. If I had known before I had my dog chipped I would not have let it happen. I will be doing all my future dogs with a tattoo.

www.antichips.com/cancer/

www.tripawds.com/2007/12/16/rfid-microchips-and-the-canine-cancer-connection/ This article also states why dogs should not be neutered/spayed too early-they don't have enough time to grow properly.

POSTED BY ELIZABETH :: WEST VIRGINIA USA :: 01/13/2009 2:12 AM


When I was a teenager, our dog got loose without us knowing and he followed one of my sisterís friends home to another neighborhood. The friend was a young teenage girl who did not call us to let us know this and by the time we went looking for him it was too late and he was gone and lost. He could find his way home in our neighborhood but he was too far away to know how to get home. We put up flyers but never found him. I have always microchiped my pets since then.

Microchip your pet or you may regret it!

POSTED BY SARAH :: COLORADO USA :: 01/13/2009 2:15 AM


Hello All,

My daughter moved to Hawaii 3 years ago and was required by that state to chip her cats. I have trapped, neutered, released and feed many feral cats. I realize this is an emotional issue about the love of pets, but also I think that if your cat or dog gets lost or let's say frightened by fires, the like of which we've had here in CA, and runs away that chipping might be worth the health risk. Pets dying slowly of starvation or fright, which I've seen many times because they lose their owners is very sad. We have tourists lose their dogs here by the ocean where I live often and I think about if they only had chipped them we wouldn't be seeing these flyers with photos and pleas for rewarding anyone that finds their precious pet.

Another problem is when cats roam and can become part of a feral community the environment pays the cost. We as humans by taming these creatures have upset the balance and it is incumbant on us to keep track of them. Right now chipping is the responsible solution unfortunetly.

P.S. My tame cats never leave the porch. Too scary out there in the world! lol

POSTED BY EDY :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/13/2009 2:20 AM


The basic principle here is that if we don't know whether a new technology is dangerous, the safest thing to do is avoid exposure to it. Avoidance can't hurt you, but exposure might.

Consider thalidomide, DDT, agent orange, teflon, cell phone radiation, and literally countless other chemicals and technologies that we were told were safe, and then later, when after people were dying or getting sick from exposure to it, they finally and very reluctantly admitted that the chemicals or technologies were not safe.

The FDA and other federal and state agencies have proven beyond any doubt that they cannot or will not protect us from exposure to dangerous technologies or chemicals.

Why take the risk?

POSTED BY DAVID :: WASHINGTON USA :: 01/13/2009 3:19 AM


My goodness! I never, ever thought of any of this! All our animals are chipped (2 dogs, 6 cats)and never had I, until seeing everything here, heard of any problems with a chip..now this concerns me greatly. On a positive note, on our street alone, we and neighbors have been able to locate about 8 owners of lost dogs - dogs with no collars, no external way of identifying their owner. When we used to find dogs or cats wandering the streets, I would tether/cage (cats) the animal and then, at rush hour, sit at a main intersection, with traffic lights, close to where we live - with sign about dog or cat beinglost, found that day (for caged cat, description on sign) - and that is how we usually found an owner or someone who knew the dog or cat from the neighborhood. But that takes alot of "downtime" to go and do that! Now, we just drive to the local vet and they check for a chip - alot easier and the dog or cat gets home alot sooner. It is heartbreaking to take an animal to the Humane Society, knowing how many, here in Hawaii, are put down every year due to not being adopted...I can't bring myself to do this, and so, keep the animal and try to find it a home instead. Thank GOODNESS there are several NO KILL Shelters here - always the best alternative if one can't find a home for a lost or feral animal! Thanks to everyone who wrote in on this! Aloha, Les from Hawaii (island of Oahu)

POSTED BY LESLIE ADAMS :: HAWAII USA :: 01/16/2009 2:45 PM


I just checked some numbers here. 5 million pets are reported missing annually in the U.S. 1.8 million children are reported missing annually in the U.S.

Would I microchip my children? NO way!!

Would I microchip my pets? No way!!

There are just some things in this modern world I will never go along with. Just like a microwave has never crossed my threshold and never will I would never place a microchip in a living creature, not that the two have anything to do with eachother.

My cats know for sure where they live.

And should they God forbid go missing some day they were either torn up by a coyote or purposely harmed by a human, and both couldn't care less whether they were microchipped or not.

POSTED BY ULLI :: MARYLAND USA :: 01/20/2009 7:45 AM


Given how many times I see fliers posted for lost animals in my neighborhood, it seems clear to me that pets have a much bigger chance of getting lost than getting side effects from the chip. It's one of those things you don't need... until you need it and wish you had it. Like insurance.

POSTED BY MELLIE MEL :: MICHIGAN USA :: 01/20/2009 8:07 AM


A reader sent me this article about how to find your lost pet, and I thought it offered a well-organized plan: www.petrescue.com/library/find-pet.htm

Debra :-)

POSTED BY DEBRA LYNN DADD :: DEBRA LYNN DADD :: DLD123.COM :: FLORIDA USA :: 01/20/2009 10:39 AM


Hi- just thought of something that, many years ago, was how we were finally able to locate our lost and injured Doberman - he got out of the yard and got hit by a car, and of course, in fright and pain, he took off running and ended up about 2 miles from home. We searched for HOURS and, nothing. So, we called the Humane Society and they gave us the number for the Hawaii Doberman Society or whatever it was called, ie, people who raise and own Dobies. The lady who answered, at that time, was VERY helpful -she personally called (whatever numbers she already had "at hand") the Post Office, the garbage men, area delivery guys for both newspapers, morning and evening,as well as the City & County Park and Rec - and goodness knows who else. And then, we waited - and waited -

About 4 days later, we got a call from a lady who lived, as I had said, about two miles from us, and there, in her hedge, lay our dog, who had been there with her caring for him for four days - he was injured so she said when she tried to approach him, he snarled at her and snapped - so she continued to use a long fruit-picker to get his water and food dish and gave him fresh water and food twice a day, and as each day passed, he got less defensive and she felt eventually, he would let her take him to her Vet (turned out nothing broken, jsut bruised, tissue damage/pain issue)...it was the POST MAN who drove up to deliver the mail and saw our dog lying in her hedge! So he went to the door and asked about him...and subsequently, we went and picked our dog up, gave taht wonderful lady a big reward and many thanks, and took him to the Vet. ANd then, built a higher fence so he couldn't jump over again!!!

Just thought that for those of you who buy Purebred dogs that are registered, there is some organization in your area that might be a great help in time of need. Aloha, Les in Hawaii

POSTED BY LESLIE ADAMS :: HAWAII USA :: 01/30/2009 2:26 PM


Leslie in Hawaii. That was a wonderful, beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And much useful information.

POSTED BY EDY :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/30/2009 3:01 PM


Here's how I see the microchipping issue. I run a small rescue here in Southern California. We rescue from the highest-kill shelters, one of which has a 70-80% euthanasia rate. When I rescue an animal, I make a commitment to the animal for the rest of his life that he will not end up back in the shelter system. When we place animals, the adopter signs a contract stating, among other things, that if for ANY REASON they become unable to keep the pet, the pet must come back to us. However, there have been times when an adopter has decided that he doesn't want to "deal" with us or fears he will get the third degree upon returning the animal, so they choose to drop him off at the local shelter. Without a microchip, that animal could end up being euthanized. I debated long and hard on whether I would microchip my rescues and I ultimately decided that if it comes down to a greater risk of cancer with a microchip or the pet dying alone and scared in some shelter that we originally saved him from, I will definitely choose to microchip. I register the chips in the rescue's name with my contact information as well as the contact information of the adopter so that if one of our animals lands in a shelter, they won't die there.

Furthermore, one of the dogs we have placed in a great home is an escape artist. About once a month he manages to free himself from the home in one way or another (he's very crafty) and ends up being picked up by animal control. His microchip expedites his trip home. Otherwise, who knows how long he might stay at the shelter before his family locates him?

I've heard the argument for tattoos, and I think they're great IF you can find a vet who will do them (I've never met a vet who will) AND if your local animal control and shelters know to look for them and how to "de-code" them (none of the shelter staff I've spoken to in 3 counties do).

If you live in an area where tattooing is available and understood, then go for it. If you don't, like me, than microchipping is the lesser of two evils.

POSTED BY SABRINA :: LOVING GRACE RESCUE :: WWW.LOVINGGRACERESCUE.ORG :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/30/2009 3:03 PM


I am surprised that shelters are in favour of microchiping animals. Are they receiving donations from companies producing microchips? Milions of animals times $25.00 plus scaners (diffrent from each company producing microchips) make impressive amount of money.

POSTED BY ANN :: MAINE USA :: 03/02/2009 10:44 AM


I don't know if shelters are provided with chips or not, but my small rescue group can purchase chips through AVID in lots as small as 25 for just $5.25 per chip, so it's really not a huge investment.

POSTED BY LOVING GRACE RESCUE :: LOVING GRACE RESCUE :: WWW.LOVINGGRACERESCUE.ORG :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 03/04/2009 9:35 AM


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