Microchips, a type of silicon-based artificial implant, have recently been approved by the FDA for use in animals. Microchips are small computer chips, usually no bigger than a grain of rice, that can be implanted under the skin of a pet. These chips contain relevant data, which are programmed into them at the time of implantation, and subsequently relayed to the veterinarian, who can then interpret and utilize this information.
In theory, a microchip is a form of artificial intelligence, as its programming contains the latest information about that animal. As such, it may provide the healthcare specialist with information that is relevant to the treatment of the animal. Although this technology may not yet have been put to use in humans, there are two main questions that remain unanswered.
One question is whether or not the chip may be able to tell a human disease, such as cancer or aggressive disease. Although it may be able to detect these problems, it may also lead to the wrong diagnosis being made, causing the wrong type of treatment, or worse yet, euthanasia of the animal in question.
Another question is whether or not the animal’s owners have the right to access this information and use it against their animal. As well, there is the concern that allowing access to the microchip may cause wild animals to become confused about their health and their lives, leading to illegal poaching of animals.
Animals can be implanted with microchips through a variety of means. Sometimes this is done purely to give the pet a more personalized feel, such as identifying their breed. Other times, vets will use microchips to track animals once they are lost, either to find them to return them to their rightful owners or to find them again to return to a rehabilitated state after they have been lost or euthanized. Veterinarians also implant microchips in animals during necrosis, when they are being prepared for a specific surgical procedure. This is often used for rats, which will undergo extensive surgeries to be fully prepared for the operation they will have later on.
Microchips are not invasive to the animal’s body, as they are placed via an incision in their skin. They do not require anesthetics or anesthetic medications, and after they are removed, they do not leave any lasting side effects on the animal’s body. Microchips are safe to use on pets, and they are painless for the animal. Some microchips are tattooed with designs to ensure they are comfortable with having the device placed on them, and vets can choose from a variety of designs that will blend in with the animal’s coloring.
Animals cannot feel the effects of the microchips and therefore are not affected in any way. However, some microchips may cause discomfort or itchiness to pets that come into contact with them. This is entirely unavoidable, and you should take care of this problem by washing the area where the chip will be placed thoroughly in hot water. Some vet surgeries request that you wash the animal before and after the implantation with antibacterial soap. This will eliminate any bacteria that could be transferred by touching the chip.
It is important that you understand how the procedure will affect your pet, and you must give them plenty of time to adjust to the implant. If you are going to use it on animals, you should only use it for that purpose. You need to ask your vet about the best places for the procedure, and you must be certain the animals will not be affected in any way during the procedure. Animals should not be forced to accept the chip if they do not want to, and they should not be kept in isolation if they are uncomfortable with it.
Microchips are a great way to help ensure the safety of your animals, but using microchips in animals may sometimes cause problems. Although many animals will adjust to the implants, some will experience complications. Be sure that you discuss these possibilities with your vet, and that you understand what could happen if something goes wrong with the procedure. When you understand the possible consequences, you can be less likely to worry about it during the recovery period.
Embedded chips in animals’ skin may be used for years to come. As their new location and shape are continuously being reshaped, new behaviors can occur. The emotional experiences of the animal will often play a large part in whether they will accept the new device, or if they will reject it altogether. You must be certain that the microchips will be placed correctly, that the animal will not be affected in any way, and that they will not suffer after the procedure. Implanting microchips in animals: is it ethical?