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Today’s launch of the Big Flea Project research results, by University of Bristol’s and MSD Animal Health, reveals that as many as 1 in 4 cats and 1 in 7 dogs studied carry fleas, with Bartonella species found in over 10%. Professor Richard Wall, University of Bristol and Wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan today nationally announce thefindings1. They will emphasise the importance of pet owners seeking advice on prevention from their vets in order to avoid infestation and reduce any risks to animal welfare and human health. The research was supported by more than 300 veteterinary practices across the country, over 1600 animals were examined.

Professor Richard Wall comments: “Fleas are the most clinically important ectoparasites of dogs and cats worldwide. Rising levels of pet ownership, climate change and globalisation are increasing the importance of a detailed understanding of the endemicity and prevelance of flea-borne pathogens. This requires continued surveillance to detect change. The results have shown the high numbers of cats and dogs that still carry fleas and the relatively high prevalence of Bartonella spp found in the samples provided, which is of significant concern for the health of the pet, pet owner and veterinary practice staff.”

Nicola Barclay, Senior Product Manager at MSD Animal Health comments: “The Big Flea Project results demonstrate the ongoing need for pet owners to understand the importance of flea prevention, particularly with the implications of infestation for human and animal health. It’s particularly important at this time of the year as the weather is getting warmer and infestation is more likely to occur. Our national launch today has been designed to raise awareness amongst pet owners and encourage them to seek advice from the veterinary practice. Building awareness of the risks of fleas to practices and pet owners is also at the forefront of our ongoing campaign.”