What Are the Side Effects of Microchipping a Dog?

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Although side effects are uncommon, microchipping a dog can sometimes bring upon varied effects such as temporary bleeding, hair loss, infection, abscesses, and microchip migration. But the vast majority of dogs experience minimal or zero side effects from the implantation process.

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Anesthesia isn't obligatory in microchipping procedures.
Image Credit: WilleeCole/iStock/Getty Images

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The benefits of microchipping dogs

Microchipping serves as reliable canine identification. If a microchipped pooch goes missing and winds up in an animal shelter or veterinary clinic, staff will use the microchip's unique ID code to contact you via the microchip provider's database. The procedure generally costs $25 to $50.

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A microchip is injected subcutaneously between the shoulder blades; the routine procedure takes minutes and usually requires no anesthesia. The injected microchip is permanent, unlike ID tags and collars.

It's important to update you contact details. Changing contact information, such as your phone number or address when either changes will ensure there's no delay in getting your pet back to you.

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Cancerous tumors rarely occur with microchipping

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that there have been two dogs who may have developed microchip-related cancerous tumors. However, in at least one case, the tumor could not be linked to the microchip directly.

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There is no definitive proof that microchipping is associated with cancerous tumors. Rather, cancerous tumors may be associated with the injection of the microchip itself, such as in the case of injection-site sarcomas.

Possible dog microchip complications

Microchipping is a rather straightforward process. Some canines experience bleeding at the location of injection. This bleeding typically ceases quickly with a little pressure. Since microchips are specifically made to not bring upon inflammatory responses, dogs usually don't develop swelling or soreness where they were implanted.

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According to the Johnson Animal Clinic, over four million animals have been microchipped, and only 391 adverse reactions have been reported. The most commonly reported adverse reaction to a microchip is a nodule that forms under the skin where the chip was placed.

Other possible dog microchip complications include abscesses, infection, hair loss, and microchip dysfunction. Microchips rarely malfunction, and if they do, most microchip companies will provide a replacement microchip at no cost. Problems can occur when veterinarians fail to implant the chips into the appropriate parts of the body.

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Microchips can migrate after being implanted

Microchips are capable of migrating within pets' tissues; as a result, they occasionally can turn up in random areas of the body. Microchips are implanted subcutaneously (under the skin) between a dog's shoulder blades. It is not uncommon for a microchip to migrate into a dog's shoulder or even into the lower chest. However, a microchip will never migrate into a dog's internal body cavities, such as the chest or abdomen.

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Microchip migration generally occurs during the initial two weeks after implantation. The migration typically happens prior to the tissues surrounding the microchip healing and settling the chip into its appropriate position.

If you're concerned about microchip migration and your dog, take him to the veterinarian. The vet will be able to confirm whether the microchip is indeed situated in the correct spot. If a pet's microchip shifts under his skin, a complete scan should still be able to locate his microchip ID number. Most veterinary and shelter staff are aware that microchips can migrate and will check the pet's entire body for a chip if they are brought in as a lost pet.

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