As the mini microchips are smaller in size than the regular, the internal components, including the ferrite rod core, are also smaller. This shorter antenna means that the read range of the mini microchip is reduced when compared to a regular sized microchip. The distance at which a microchip can be successfully read is dependant on a wide variety of factors including; the model of scanner used, scanning technique, environmental conditions, the microchip type, and the orientation of the microchip in the animal in relation to the scanner when scanning. If a mini microchip is present in certain animals, these variable factors in combination with the shorter read distance of the mini microchip may cause the it to be missed - with obvious consequences. The intended implantation site of the animal must also be considered, for example in giant chelonia, rhinos and elephants, where thick skin or the shell may add to the distance the scanner will be from the microchip when scanning.
When deciding which size microchip to use, we can offer guidance but there are no set rules in place. There are currently many studies being carried out on the use of mini microchips across all species, and some microchips suppliers advise that they can be used in all species regardless of size or coat type. The decision can only really be made by the implanter, however currently we do still recommend the use of a regular microchip in certain situations. If in any doubt, then we recommend using the regular microchip over the mini.
It is very important to think of the animal’s size and coat type when an adult if applicable, rather than just at the time of implantation. It is also important to remember that any scanner that may be used must be able to pick up the microchip in an animal, not just the scanner used at the time of implantation. With both regular and mini microchips, it is extremely important that anyone who is operating a microchip scanner uses correct scanning technique and ensures the whole animal is scanned in a slow, methodical manner.
The guidance we have set currently is that the mini chip can be used in any small companion animals such as rabbits, cats, ferrets and guinea pigs where the implantation site is subcutaneous (under the skin). Even those with longer hair can have a mini microchip inserted as the hair although long, doesn’t tend to be thick and so still allows the microchip scanner to be placed close to the skin when scanning. Any short to medium coated dogs up to around the size of a labrador can also be implanted with the mini microchip. For any dog larger than this we would recommend that a regular microchip is used, especially in muscular or giant breed animals such as Mastiffs, Great Danes etc. Sight-hounds and similar breeds may be implanted with a mini microchip due to their thin build.
Animals with high-tufted thick or double coats - and this mainly applies to dogs, should have a regular microchip inserted as in these cases the fur adds to the distance between the scanner and the microchip. Example breeds include Newfoundlands, Standard Poodles, Huskies, Hungarian Pulis etc. This also includes working strains of breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Spaniels.
When scanning for a microchip in a larger breed dog, or those with thick fur, the distance that the scanner will be from the microchip is greater than when a scanning a smaller or short coated dog. In these circumstances the larger read distance that the regular microchip provides increases the likelihood that the microchip will be scanned successfully if the scanner operator is using a substandard scanning technique, a scanner with a limited read range, or there are environmental conditions present that may affect the scanner's read range.