Thank you for getting back to me, Matt. I understand your concern - I've read those articles, too, and while the risk of cancer developing is small, it is real. However, I'm afraid that it will be extremely difficult to find a vet who will remove the chip. Getting it out is more complicated than putting it in was. Surgery is involved, and sometimes permanent damage to the muscle tissue results. Your best chance would probably be to contact the University of Illinois Veterinary teaching Hospital. They would have skilled surgical specialists on staff, and they may be willing to remove the chip. Here’s contact information for the hospital:
Small Animal Clinic
1008 West Hazelwood Drive
Urbana, IL 61802
Weekdays 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
If they won’t consider the surgery, probably no one will.
Because of the cancer connection, I myself have made the decision not to microchip my future dogs, but I wouldn’t remove the chip in my present dog because I feel the risks of surgery are greater than the risks of the chip. You may want to consider the following. Microchips do cause cancer in laboratory rats and mice. However, many strains of those animals have been bred to be prone to cancer in order to more easily study the disease in them. Here's a link to a newspaper article about microchips and cancer. At the bottom of the article is a summary of the various studies done on rats and mice showing the connection.
That being said, over 10,000,000 dogs and cats have been microchipped. There have been four cases of cancer appearing around the chip. There may, of course, be others that haven't been reported. During that same time, hundreds of lost animals have been reunited with their families because they had a microchip.
The reason a microchip can cause cancer is that any foreign object put in the body can stimulate the body to grow tissue around it(encapsulate it).In some cases this tissue becomes cancerous. Scientists and doctors have known this for a long time. When a soldier has unremovable shrapnel in his/her body, there have been cases of tissue around the shrapnel become malignant. But most such cases do not develop cancer.
If you decide to keep the microchip, or all vets refuse to remove it, there are two precautions you can take. When you take your pet in for an annual exam, ask the vet to locate the microchip and palpate the area around it. If you have this done regularly, you increase the chances of catching any tumor growth early. When your pet gets vaccines, ask that they be given in an area away from the microchip. Some holistic veterinarians believe that the combination of the microchip and irritation from vaccines can increase the chances of a problem.
If you have further concerns, just let me know by clicking on REPLY.