Leading vet organisations reassure owners that dog microchipping is safe

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have moved to reassure dog owners that getting their pet microchipped is perfectly safe.

Earlier this month, it became law for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped and registered on an approved database. But some media reports have caused concern amongst pet lovers by linking microchipping to health problems.

Dogs Naturally Magazine, and numerous online commentators and bloggers, have cited reports linking microchips to cancerous growths, neurological damage and complications stemming from the microchipping procedure.

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But a joint statement from the BVA and the BSAVA warned against scaremongering and reassured British dog owners that getting your dog ‘chipped’ is perfectly safe:“We’d like to reassure all dog owners that microchipping is a routine and harmless procedure that provides your pet with a form of identification that lasts a lifetime.

“For vets, your pet’s welfare is their primary concern and if they think that microchipping could have an adverse effect on your dog’s health – for example, because of existing ill-health - then they can issue an exemption certificate, but this is not a decision that dog owners should be taking themselves.”

The organisations admit that adverse reactions to microchipping are possible, they are very unlikely: “Adverse reactions to microchipping are incredibly rare and while temporary swelling could occur or migration of the microchip might take place over time these are uncommon and harmless possibilities.

“Very few veterinary surgeons ever see an adverse outcome of microchipping, while many see heartbroken pet owners whose dog has been lost and finding them has been delayed due to lack of a microchip. Last year, 7 in 10 vets could not reunite a dog with its owners because it didn’t have an identifier.

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“A microchip that is implanted properly at your local veterinary practice and then checked during your pet’s regular vet visits can save lives as well as emotional heartache for owners.”

As microchipping your dog is now law, the BVA has developed guidance for owners - and for vets - regarding their respective responsibilities on dog welfare.