MSD Animal Health has worked in collaboration with Bristol University to conduct what has now become the largest ever veterinary study of ticks and tick-borne disease in the UK. 

Ticks are travelling, and as the threat of ticks continues to grow rapidly across the UK, our aim is to raise awareness about the risks to pets and humans from tick borne disease.


The Big Tick Project was launched in April 2015 in the New Forest in Hampshire, England by TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham together with Professor Richard Wall, researcher Swaid Abdulah.

The project was started as an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of ticks and tick-borne disease in the UK – and as a way to educate pet owners on how to protect against them.

At the start of the project, veterinary practices were asked to examine dogs in their practice for ticks each week and to complete a questionnaire relating to the clinical history of each dog.

Tick samples were then sent to the University of Bristol to be studied. A total of 1,461 veterinary practices responded to the request for tick collection and a staggering 6,372 ticks were sent in. The samples have been ‘mapped’ by location and were analysed for the presence of tick-borne disease1.

The results of the project can be found on our results page. In the summer of 2016 this study was replicated to understand the prevelance of ticks and diseases they may carry on cats.


The Team
The team, led by Professor Richard Wall, examined the ticks for the presence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases.
Team of scientists
The ticks collected by vet practices were sent for testing to the team of scientists at the University of Bristol.

Back the campaign

We have joined forces with vets across the country to call on the Government to get a comprehensive tick control programme reinstated into the Pet Travel Scheme so that trips abroad with our pets stay safe and UK dogs are not exposed to the risk of imported tick-borne disease. A big thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign.

Thank you for your support

Information brought to you by MSD Animal Health