Many veterinarians recommend them, and most animal shelters require them. Identification microchips injected into the necks of cats and dogs are touted as useful in recovering lost pets because the devices store owner and medical information. But are they safe? A new lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc., maker of the HomeAgain pet microchip, says they are not, noting that they can cause cancer to develop in pets.
Featured at www.ChipMeNot.org, a website launched to raise awareness about the harm caused to animals by microchips, the lawsuit alleges that Merck’s HomeAgain pet microchip induces cancerous tumors in pets. According to the suit, the defendant’s cat developed cancer after getting a chip implant, and according to reports, other animals have gotten cancer after getting chipped as well.
“Based on the alarming number of microchip-induced cancers we’re discovering, I predict this lawsuit will be just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Katherine Albrecht, a consumer advocate and expert on side effects associated with implantable microchips. “Merck and organizations that advocate pet chipping should take this lawsuit seriously and start warning pet owners of the risk of microchip-induced cancer.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, potential health risks associated with implantable microchips include “adverse tissue reaction”. Based on data from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, this can include “swelling”, “infection”, “abscesses”, and “tumors”.
Albrecht presented a paper on the subject called “Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990-2006” (http://www.chipmenot.org/pdfs/P074.pdf) at the June conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers that documents the increasing number of animals being harmed by microchips. Currently, there is no repository of data on adverse events associated with microchips in the U.S., but Albrecht organization, CASPIAN, is filling that void by compiling such information and making it available to the public.