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The Big Tick Project

Abbey House is taking part in the Big Tick Project, the largest nationwide collection of ticks from dogs in a bid to help scientists track what is feared to be a growing threat to people and their dogs from tick-borne zoonotic diseases such as Lyme disease 


In the UK, Public Health England estimates the number of new Lyme Disease cases each year at around 3,000 while Lyme Disease charities say the figure could even be as high as 15,000 annually.  However, the majority of people are unaware that this potentially debilitating condition also affects our pet dogs.


The University of Bristol's Big Tick Project is being supported by TV presenter, naturalist and dog lover Chris Packham, and aims to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms associated with tick-borne disease, and to educate owners how they can reduce their dog’s exposure to ticks and the diseases they carry.


Ticks collected will be sent for testing to the team of scientists at the University of Bristol who are leading the Big Tick Project. The team, led by Professor Richard Wall, will be examining the ticks for the presence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases which it is feared may be emerging in the UK. Owners whose dogs have taken part in the project at participating vets will receive a Big Tick Project certificate and have helped advance the knowledge surround tick-borne disease in the UK.  

Ticks are unpleasant in their own right, but they are also a threat to the health of your pet and your family.


Ticks also spread disease, and as external parasites are second only to mosquitoes in terms of their public health importance worldwide. Examples of diseases they may transmit in the UK include:


Lyme disease (borreliosis), a bacterial disease of dogs, horses and people - a growing problem in the UK

- In dogs it may cause lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy, swollen joints and rarely kidney failure

- In humans it may cause a rash and fl u-like symptoms, but may eventually produce abnormalities in the joints, heart and nervous system


Babesiosis, caused by a microscopic parasite that invades red blood cells has also been shown to be carried by UK ticks. The disease can manifest with high temperature, increased respiratory rate, muscle tremors, anaemia, jaundice, and weight loss.


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