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The Big Tick Project

The Big Tick Project was triggered by concerns that tick numbers have been increasing over recent years in the UK1. Many factors may have contributed to this increase including changing weather patterns making conditions more favourable for tick survival and increasing numbers of deer. Also, a lack of awareness among pet owners may also play a role – and, worryingly, 47% of owners were not aware that they too are at risk of infection from tick-borne diseases2.

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The results

In this study nearly one in three dogs was infested with ticks (2,181 out of 7,102 dogs). This is a worrying statistic as ticks also put dogs at risk of contracting tick-borne pathogens, which can result in diseases such as Lyme and Babesiosis. Owners are also at risk from both ticks and any diseases carried when they walk their dogs. The study also showed that ticks are not confined to rural areas either, with strong tick populations also present in urban areas.

There are several different species of tick found in the UK; the most common found in The Big Tick Project was Ixodes ricinus, present on 89% of infested dogs. 1,855 cats were also examined and 601 were found to have attached ticks, with the most frequently recorded tick species again being Ixodes ricinus (57.1%).

pet disease risk map dog cat vaccination

Map of tick risk

This interactive tick map, created from The Big Tick Project results, helps to show risk in your local area. Use it to search for the types of diseases that are prevalent in different areas across the UK.

Full report

You can read a comprehensive version of the findings of the Big Tick Project.

Big Tick project downloadable information

Further information

The Big Flea project

Our sister project to The Big Tick Project was conducted in 2018 and results are now live.

Why protect

Fleas and ticks aren’t just an itchy nuisance – they can carry dangerous diseases.