saw it growing every day, and I could see it taking his life'
Do implanted microchips cause cancer in dogs and cats?
the question owners are asking after highly aggressive tumors developed
around the microchip implants of two dogs, killing one and leaving the other
terminally ill. The owners – and pathology and autopsy reports –
suggest a link between the chips and formation of fast-growing cancers.
could see it taking his life'
bullmastiff named Seamus died last month after developing a hemangio-sarcoma
– a malignant form of cancer that can kill even humans in three to
six months, explains privacy expert, syndicated radio host and best-selling
author Dr. Katherine Albrecht. Albrecht,
an outspoken opponent of implantable microchips, has been contacted by pet
owners after their animals experienced what they believe to be side effects
from the procedure.
to a pathology report, Seamus' tumor appeared between his shoulder blades
last year, and by September a "large mass" had grown with the
potential to spread to his lungs, liver and spleen. Seamus
underwent emergency surgery, and doctors extracted a 4-pound, 3-ounce tumor
from the dog. They used four drains to remove fluid from the area in which
the tumor had developed. The veterinarian informed the dog's owner, Howard
Gillis, that there had been two microchips embedded in Seamus – one
presumably inserted by the dog's breeder when Seamus was only 9 months old.
The chips were both located in and around the tumor.
just three months, the cancer returned. Seamus, a once energetic dog, struggled
to walk. Seamus "was 150 pounds of heart," Howard Gillis, the
dog's owner, said in a recent interview. "He wanted to live."
the whole story: Get "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government
plan to Track your every Move"
explained that he "got the microchip because I didn't want him stolen.
I thought I was doing right. There were never any warnings about what a
microchip could do, but I saw it first-hand. That cancer was something I
could see growing every day, and I could see it taking his life …
It just ate him up." To end the suffering, Seamus was put to sleep
Microchip embedded inside tumour
told the story of another dog, a 5-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Scotty
that was diagnosed with cancer in Memphis, Tenn. Scotty developed a tumor
between his shoulder blades, in the same location where the microchip had
been implanted. The tumor the size of a small balloon – described
as malignant lymphoma – was removed. Scotty's microchip was embedded
inside the tumor.
was given only a year to live. His owner, Linda Hawkins, said the veterinarian
was skeptical that a chip implant could cause cancer. In Scotty's December
pathology report, the doctor wrote: "I was previously suspicious of
a prior unrelated injection site reaction" beneath the tumor. "However,
it is possible that this inflammation is associated with other foreign debris,
possibly from the microchip."
doctor said the chip was coated with a translucent material to keep the
microchips from moving around the body. "This coating could be the
material inciting the inflammatory response," he wrote.
pet recovery and identification network, asked a vet to review the pathology
report, according to Hawkins. The company reported that the chip was not
the cause of the tumor. However, Hawkins said the company sent her a $300
check to pay for medical expenses. "I find it hard to believe that
a company will just give away $300 to somebody who calls in, unless there
is something bad going on," Hawkins said. Hawkins reported spending
$4,000 on medical treatment for Scotty since December. "Scotty is just
a baby," she said. "He won't live the 15 years he's supposed to
… I did something I thought a responsible pet owner should –
microchip your pet – and to think that it killed him … It just
breaks your heart."
cited other reports of animals who suffered adverse reactions following
implantation of microchips. Two other dogs experienced malignant tumors.
bulldog named Léon
developed a lump at the microchip site only eight months after implantation.
A biopsy indicated that Léon had a fibrosarcoma, an aggressive form
WND reported just last year, a Chihuahua named Charlie Brown experienced
another outcome from the chipping procedure. He bled to death. "I wasn't
in favor of getting Charlie chipped, but it was the law," said Lori
Ginsberg, the Chihuahua's owner, citing an ordinance that requires all dogs
over the age of four months in unincorporated Los Angeles County be microchipped.
Dog owners who refuse to comply face a $250 fine for the first offense and
up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine for continued non-compliance.
technology is supposedly so great until it's your animal that dies,"
she said. "I can't believe Charlie is gone."
Likewise, in 2007, the
Associated Press reported, "A series of veterinary and toxicology
studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had 'induced'
malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats." They developed subcutaneous
"sarcomas" – most of them encasing the implants.
Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, led a 1996 study at the Dow
Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich. "The transponders were the cause of
the tumors," he told the AP.
has authored a 52-page peer-reviewed article, titled
"Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review
of the Literature," in which she discusses literature published
in oncology and toxicology journals between 1990 and 2006 that address the
effects of implanted radio-frequency microchips on laboratory rodents and
dogs. Albrecht has been invited to present her findings at a June conference
for the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers, the world's leading
professional association for the advancement of technology. She said it
is important that the public be made aware of the potential hazards of microchipping
because some governments are seeking to make dog chipping mandatory. For
example, the British
government recently announced its proposal to impose penalties on pet
owners who do not comply with chipping requirements. Ireland, New Zealand,
Malta, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Italy and Portugal and even
some places in the United States require mandatory microchipping. Likewise,
USA Today reported Colorado requires implanting microchips in dogs that
injure someone. Minnesota enacted a similar law in 2001, and in Virginia,
dangerous dogs are required to have either a microchip or an identifying
tattoo on the inner thigh.
Asked how prevalent the problem of pets developing cancerous growths following
chip implantation really is, Albrecht told WND, "That's what we don't
know, and that's why we are hoping the veterinary community will at least
start to acknowledge these problems and start to report on these cases as
they turn up. It seems there's a widespread lack of awareness in the veterinary
community about this problem."
FDA: No studies linking chip implantation to cancer
2004, after investigating microchipping, the Food and Drug Administration
found the process to be safe enough for use in humans and animals. In 2007,
the New York Times reported federal regulators said animal data had been
considered in the review of chip implantation in humans and that there were
no controlled scientific studies linking chip implantation to cancer in
dogs and cats. Lab rodents were said to be more prone than other animals
to develop tumors from all types of injections.
"If there are any cancers from the chips, they are so rare that losing
pets is far more serious," Dr. Lawrence D. McGill, a veterinary pathologist
at Animal Reference Pathology, a veterinary laboratory in Salt Lake City,
told the Times.
Veterinary Medical Association website states, "Tumors associated
with microchips in two dogs were reported, but in at least one of these
dogs the tumor could not be directly linked to the microchip itself (and
may have been caused by something else). … the risk that your animal
will develop cancer due to its microchip is very, very low, and is far outweighed
by the improved likelihood that you will get your animal back if it becomes
lost." However, Albrecht noted that side effects resulting from FDA-approved
devices for human use are required to be reported, while those resulting
from use of animal devices are not.
it's for animal use, there's no requirement," she said. "We suspect
this is happening quite frequently, and it's simply not being reported."
'Pet owners should
be clearly advised'
Albrecht nor the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend having
microchips removed from pets that exhibit no reactions after the chips have
been implanted because doing so would require invasive surgery. However,
in her research paper, Albrecht recommends that policymakers "reverse
all policies that mandate the microchipping of animals under their jurisdiction
or control," including reversal of state and local ordinances and chipping
policies at animal shelters.
She advocates a voluntary system of microchipping at the discretion of pet
owners and asks that veterinarians familiarize themselves with research
findings regarding adverse reactions before recommending implants for animals.
also states, "Pet owners should be clearly advised of the research
linking the microchip to cancer in rodents and dogs when seeking advice
about the chipping procedure or choosing to have it done to their pets."
According to the paper, pet owners should routinely inspect the microchip
site on their animals for unusual lumps or swelling and immediately report
abnormalities. Albrecht argues that it is far more efficient to fit dogs
and cats with tags that contain owner contact information rather than chipping
an animal and expecting the person who finds him to take him to a clinic
or shelter to read the microchip. "Then, if your neighbor finds your
dog, rather than having to turn your dog in to the animal shelter where
it might be put to sleep, your neighbor can call you and tell you they have
him," she said.
As for pet owners who have not sought the procedure for their animals and
are unsure of whether they should, Albrecht noted, "If a pet's not
currently microchipped, it may be best to keep them that way."
note: Dr. Albrecht encourages pet owners who have similar experiences with
implantable microchips to contact her and share their stories. mailto:email@example.com
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