Dog Microchip Lump: Should I Be Worried?

Dog microchip lump
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 Spots, bumps and lumps.

It’s never a fun day when you discover a mass on your best friend that wasn’t there before.

It can send your mind spinning in ways that you didn’t even know was possible.

So, that begs the question:

Should you be worried about a dog microchip lump?

Raised skin surfaces can be caused by various different factors (such as dried dead ticks), but one potential and surprising explanation for that distinct lump on your dog’s back is the presence of a microchip.

Although lumps caused by microchips are rare, a microprocessor may occasionally protrude from the skin’s surface and create a bump the size of a grain of rice. This is completely harmless and should not warrant a visit to the vet.

Microchips can also cause different reactions in the area of skin in which they are implanted.

For example, after a microchip is installed, bumps can develop due to the formation of extra fibrous skin layers, development of pockets filled with clear fluid or blood, inflammatory reactions, or even infections.

Finally, bumps around the microchip site can also be caused by the formation of fatty tissue or a tumor.

Lumps caused by microchips usually do not require urgent care and should not cause any significant health issues. If you are worried about a certain growth, you can always ask your vet to examine the area and treat as necessary.

Can A Dog Microchip Cause A Lump?

Beagle having microchip put in

Yes, microchips can leave a lump on your dog’s back where it was inserted. The lump can feel like a small grain of wheat or rice underneath the skin.

While microchip lumps are uncommon, it is generally not a cause for concern if they are discovered to be present on your dog.

Although rare, microchips can cause some complications or side effects including inflammation, infection or the formation of new skin layers.

Dogs can also possibly develop minor swelling at the site of the microchip implantation due to an inflammatory reaction from allergy or infection.

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In some circumstances it is possible for a dog’s body to react to foreign materials by encapsulating them in fibrous tissue, which can then have a lump-like appearance. However, this type of tissue should break down naturally over time.

If a bump that is directly correlated with microchip implantation does not disappear within a month, don’t hesitate to take your dog to the vet to have it checked out!

Other Causes Of Lumps At The Site Of Microchip Implantation

Microchip-related lumps can develop in various timeframes, ranging from a few seconds to several years depending on the type.

A few of the potential reasons as to why a small lump may develop can include:

  • The gel substance ejected with the microchip
  • Subsequent subcutaneous injections
  • Seroma
  • Hematoma
  • Tumor

A thick gel substance is ejected along with the chip during implantation. This helps to set the microchip in place and is generally not harmful. However, the gel can collect in a single area and develop into a bump. Over time, it should gradually disappear on its own.

Other subsequent subcutaneous injections occurring around the microchip site may spread unevenly. This can result in a slight bump and unevenness, which again should eventually recede.

A lump can also develop due to the physical disturbance caused by the penetrating instrument. When the needle containing the microchip pierces the skin, it can disturb the barriers between tissue and cause a seroma or hematoma.

A seroma is a pocket of tissue containing clear fluid which tends to go away on its own after a few weeks.

A hematoma, on the other hand, involves the localized bleeding from blood vessels, causing build-up of blood that may develop into a blood clot. Hematomas tend to go away over time as well, but asking for a vet’s assistance is often recommended.

Tumors can also develop around the microchip site. The exact reason behind the development of tumors is not clear, but they are extremely rare in any case. Tumors can be either cancerous or benign.

How To Tell If The Lump Between Your Dog’s Shoulder Blades Is a Microchip

Veterinarian checking microchip implant on Maltese dog in vet clinic

Microchip lumps tend to be characterized by specific features such as locality and physical appearance.

As stated already in previous sections, they should not cause any issues- and you can always check the site of concern using a microchip scanner.

As microchip bumps are rare, you can use the checklist below to determine if the lump is caused by a microchip.

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Location

Microchips are typically placed between your dog’s shoulder blades.

If the lump is found between the shoulder blades, it is likely to be a microchip.

Sometimes microchips can shift from their original position, and a full body scan by your vet may be needed to locate the chip.

Physical Characteristics

Microchips are the size of a grain of rice. A microchip-related lump will most likely be similar in size, and will appear narrow with a rounded edge. It should also feel hard to the touch.

Reaction to Physical Touch

Microchips should not cause any issues and most dogs with microchips are relaxed even if you touch the site of implantation.

If your dog becomes distressed when you touch the lump, it could signify something more serious and may require veterinary assistance.

History

If you know that your dog has been microchipped before, a lump in the same area will in most cases be a microchip.

If your dog has not been microchipped, a bump could signify something more troublesome and warrants medical attention.

Should I Be Worried About The Lump?

Vet checking microchip of white retriever

Whether you should take action will depend on what caused the initial bump to appear.

The lump will be relatively harmless if it was caused by one of the following factors:

  • Microchip protruding from skin
  • Gel-like substance ejected with the microchip
  • Formation of extra skin layers
  • Development of seroma or lipoma

Though not impossible, microchips very rarely cause any complications by themselves.

If the cause of the lump is inflammation, it should also die down within 1-2 weeks- especially if anti-inflammatory medication is provided. There are generally no adverse effects, and long-term treatment is usually not required.

Fluid-filled pockets– especially those caused by infections- will usually swell more and may cause skin discoloration. The skin will also appear as a dark red patch if your dog has developed a hematoma. Immediate medical attention is often recommended in these cases.

If the lump is caused by a tumor, it will continue to grow in size over several weeks. Your dog may appear distressed or develop abnormal behavioral patterns.

What Should I Do About The Lump?

Microchip lumps are usually harmless and will not require any additional medical attention. If you need a little bit of extra reassurance, you can always take your dog to the vet for an examination.

On the rare occasion the bump is caused by inflammation or an infection, consult with your vet for oral medications or topical ointments like antihistamines and antibiotics.

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If your dog is behaving differently, or if you observe swelling which does not resolve within a few days, immediate medical attention.

It is always better to be safe than sorry as the lump could potentially be a tumor. Tumors will often require surgical removal or long-term treatment plans.

Is Microchipping Safe For Dogs? Are There Any Other Complications?

Black puppy getting microchipped

Yes, microchipping is generally very safe for dogs.

Beside the extremely rare cases of inflammation, infection or tumor growth, there are no frequently recorded complications associated with microchip implantation.

Even if the microchip has moved from its original site of implantation, it should not cause any issues in most cases and a full body scan will quickly reveal the location.

However, in the rare case the microchip has shifted to your dog’s belly, an examination by your vet will be required to determine if it will cause any future problems.

Overall, microchipping is a relatively safe procedure and the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Dogs are adventurous creatures and if they ever get lost, a microchip will be instrumental in helping to reunite them with their family.

In Conclusion

Lumps can sometimes develop due to the installation of microchips, but they are relatively harmless in the majority of cases. Most microchip lumps will eventually disappear in the weeks that follow.

On the rare occasion that your dog develops the bump due to an inflammatory reaction or infection, antihistamines and antibiotics may need to be administered in order to help it recover.

Although extremely rare, immediate medical attention will also be required if you suspect the lump is caused by a tumor. A hematoma will also warrant a visit to the vet.

If you are worried at any point in time, consulting with your vet and asking for an examination is always a good course of action as a pet owner!

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