Animals shelters, veterinarians, and animal welfare advocates have touted the benefits of microchip identification of companion animals for several years. It is standard practice at many animal shelters to microchip all dogs and cats before adoption. But recent news reports have alarmed many people about the possible health risks. 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.
The controversy mostly surrounds the very recent practice of implanting microchips with medical or identification information in human beings. But the reports also have alarmed pet owners. No one wants to implant something in their pet that might cause cancer. But it seems that science is a long way from being ready to state that microchips cause cancer.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) advises pet owners against a rush to judgment on the technology. As a pet owner I’m still glad that my dog has a microchip. If she were to get lost and somehow lose her identification tags, she would still have the microchip as a permanent means of identification. We saw after the Katrina disaster how difficult it is to reunite pets with their owners when they have no permanent identification. Until further studies are done pet owners should still rely on microchips as the best way to find their lost pets.