The Big Tick Project is pleased to have had support from ex England Rugby international Matt Dawson. Matt joined the team over the summer, sharing his own personal story and raising the profile of the Big Tick Project across the country.
After being bitten by a tick in his local suburb of Chiswick, he developed feverish symptoms which led to a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. The bacterial infection, caused by infected ticks, can lead to conditions such as meningitis or heart failure if left untreated and can even prove fatal.
Matt underwent multiple heart operations and 18 months of treatment and is now free of the disease. However, he is still on medication and it will take some for his heart to fully recover.
Like many, Matt believed that Lyme disease was associated with foreign countries and underestimated the risk of the threat in the UK. The Big Tick Project has studied ticks on both cats and dogs since 2015. The threat map on our site shows the high risk areas, species of ticks found on dogs studied and where you should be most vigilant.
Matt joined the summer roadshow and has helped us to educate hundreds of people that were unaware of the threats.