The techie trend toward tinier-than-tiny micro-anything has now hit the world of equine identification. Horses necessitating microchip identification—a requirement in many countries, including the entire European Union—can now receive a “mini-microchip” implant.

Roughly 70% the size of the standard microchip, the mini-microchip “obviously works very well” and has clear benefits for the horse, explained Christine Aurich, DVM, PhD, Head of the Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Science in Neustadt, Germany.

“It’s certainly better to insert a smaller needle than the one that was used for the ‘old’ chip,” Aurich said. “Therefore, the mini-chip should substitute the old transponder from now on.”

The welfare benefits are even greater for small animals, in particular dogs and cats, she added.

Aurich and colleagues tested the mini-chip in 40 adult mares at the Brandenburg State Stud in Neustadt. They evaluated the horses’ response to the implant as well as its readability, and they compared their results to their previous studies on standard microchip placement and readability.

The microchips were immediately readable and still readable up to 24 weeks later (at the end of the testing period) with 100% accuracy, regardless of the scanner used, when scanned on the implantation side of the neck, Aurich said. High-quality scanners still read the chip accurately on the opposite side of the neck, although lower-quality scanners used on the opposing side sometimes made errors. However, Aurich said, this is also true with standard-sized microchips.

Placing the m