Vets in north Northumberland have joined a new nationwide initiative to track the ‘growing problem’ of blood-sucking ticks, which can cause serious infections.
Practices in Alnwick, Amble, Wooler, Seahouses, Rothbury and Powburn have teamed up with TV presenter Chris Packham and the University of Bristol in the Big Tick Project.
The scheme, which runs through to autumn, tracks the rise of the tick population in the UK and finds out how many carry disease.
Dog owners can take their pooches to participating venues – Robson and Prescott, in Alnwick; Cheviot Vets, in Powburn; or Alnorthumbria Vets, in Alnwick, Amble, Wooler, Seahouses and Rothbury – for a tick check and advice about innovations in effective control.
Any ticks found on dogs will be collected and sent to Bristol University laboratories to help advance the knowledge of tick-borne disease, benefiting both veterinary and human medicine.
Naturalist Chris Packham feels the challenge of keeping dogs and people tick-free has never been greater. He said: “Research highlighted by the Big Tick Project experts at Bristol University suggests that ticks are a growing problem, especially in areas such as urban parkland, woodland or open country.
“While I find ticks and fleas interesting creatures, I don’t want them on my dogs, in my house or on me.”
By taking part, the practices will help the level of risk to dogs and people in the area to be identified, compared to the national average. The practices also aim to provide advice to local dog owners on effective tick control.
For information, visit www.bigtickproject.co.uk