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The Big Flea Project summary

The Big Flea Project

Close up of a flea

The Big Flea Project

The Big Flea Project was launched in spring 2018 and aimed to map the many flea species in the UK and discover the diseases they carry. Practices were asked to examine both dog and cat patients at random and send any samples to the University of Bristol.

1,475 animals were examined (812 cats, 662 dogs, 1 unidentified), from 326 vet practices throughout the UK: 5 random pets a week per practice. Fleas were collected from March to June 2018, sent to the University of Bristol, identified and their DNA extracted.


The results


Icon of a cat on a green background


More than 1 in 4 cats1 were found to be infested with fleas.

Outline of a dog in white on a green background


More than 1 in 7 dogs1 were found to be infested with fleas.

Icon of a flea on a green background


of flea samples1 were positive for the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch Disease in people. This disease can be particularly dangerous for people with lowered immune systems.

Full report

For more information, you can read a comprehensive version of the findings of the Big Flea Project.

Big Flea Project full report cover


Further information


Man pushing a child's pram and walking his dog

The Big Tick Project

Find out where ticks are based on these results…

Dog and cat laying on a sofa together

Why protect against fleas?

Fleas can cause severe irritation and can lead to infection of the skin...

Cat laying on a woman's lap outside

Why protect against ticks?

In the UK, ticks can carry various germs including the bacteria that causes Lyme disease...


1. Abdullah et al. Parasites & Vectors (2019) 12:71

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