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Microchip myths

I blogged yesterday about the great success the amazing SOFA Club is having with their campaign to have microchipping made a legal requirement in the UK. I thought it was really positive news, so I was surprised to receive the following tweet from

BethanneElion "This is terrible news. Microchips proven to cause cancerous tumors on site. They should be banned."

To use an inelegant phrase, I was gob smacked. In years of interviewing dog people, no one has ever raised this issue with me before. Was I missing something? I did some research and could find no reliable source or study to back up the link with microchipping and cancer. This article was very useful, and reassuring. But was I just kidding myself, believing something I wanted to be true?

I asked for feedback. And I got it! Here's a selection from Twitter:

cesky2000 Better a chip than a lost or stolen dog

maps4pets We think it's a great idea. How about You?

Nightsongbird My dog is microchipped and has been for 7 years -no problems as of today!

cambstreasurer My cat's microchip probably saved her life as she is epileptic and wandered off after a fit and was found 3 miles away

jonbuscall All my lot are microchipped. Standard practice over here.

Petnanny1 Is essential Trouble d owners feel without collars pets will not know owners info. Cat collars however can & r lethal!

ClareAshford My cat is microchipped and I really believe that all pets should be.So much easier to get pet back to owner if it goes missing

k9colleague I have 2 dogs, both are microchipped. dogs adopted from SPCA TampaBay are also chipped. Registration for chips is a concern.

B3agleBoy wrigley doesn't mind shots, but he found the microchip implant needle painful. other than that no problems.

One dog responded on Twitter:

MurphyTheBnBDog I think it's a breach of my civil liberties

But to be honest Murphy has a great line in irony, so I'm not sure if he's serious or not!

What I still needed to know was what do the health professionals think? So I turned to Pete Wedderburn, a vet based in Ireland. He's also on Twitter as petethevet. He told me, " I have no issues at all with safety of microchips - no evidence whatsoever of any problem that I know of... "

I have had further discussions with Bethanne Elion who first raised this issue with me, and in the end I think we will have to agree to differ. She is adamant that microchipping, and specifically legislating to enforce microchipping is wrong, while I maintain that mandatory microchipping would ease and speed up the reuniting of lost and stolen dogs with their families, it would promote responsible ownership, in all probability cause a vast decrease in dog theft. All great things, and well worth supporting.

Everything we do carries a risk, and in my life, with health issues at least, I try to make choices that play the odds; I make the safest choice, for me, my family and my dogs. If there is a tiny increased risk from microchipping my dogs, it is far outweighed by the serious chance of them being stolen, or simply getting lost during a walk. Yes, they are trained, but the best trained dog can be distracted. No, I never leave them unattended in public, even in the car, but there are times when I have to leave them home alone, and it is possible even if you take the best precautions you can that the unforeseen happens.

I love my dogs, and I strive to keep them happy, healthy and safe - and that includes microchipping them. The SOFA Club are doing a wonderful job on behalf of dogs and dog owners in the UK, and I look forward to the day that I can celebrate their success. So there!

Take care,

Julie x


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