Last year, MSD Animal Health 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. And, as the threat of ticks continues to grow rapidly across the UK, the Big Tick Project is back for a second year.
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 and veterinary dermatologist Paul Sands, MRCVS.
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 are currently being ‘mapped’ by location and analysed for the presence of tick-borne disease1.
The results for the project are due later this year and will be released in tandem with the first national Tick Awareness Month in July. It is our hope that the results of the study will highlight the challenge that an increasing distribution and prevalence of ticks bring to human and animal health.
And, as we continue to collect and study tick samples, we are extending our research to include the presence of ticks on cats.