The Big Flea Project at Lady Dinah's

Last Wednesday, June 19 2019, we were delighted to host a special blogger event for The Big Flea Project.

The Big Tick and Flea Project is a 2-part large scale research project carried out by MSD Animal Health, and it is focused on developing better, safer strategies to manage the two most common parasites troubling our beloved cats and dogs: Fleas and Ticks.


Although we were hosts and not guests for this event, we couldn’t help but be interested in the topic and we did a little bit of eavesdropping! We know our community is very interested in all things cat care, so we’d like to share a little bit of what we picked up and link you all to the project itself.

The Big Flea Project vet, Sian Stockford has highlighted that 1 in 4 cats examined in our latest research were found to be carrying fleas. To ensure your cat doesn't become one of them, speak to your vet about at least 12 weeks of continuous protection to break the flea life-cycle.
- The Big Tick and Flea Project (@bigtickandflea), 19/6/19

Sian Stockport, Veterinary Advisor at MSD Animal Health, spoke in detail about the study and findings. She also brought in some live specimens of ticks and fleas which made us *very* nervous, but they were in sealed containers the whole time and no curious cats got into them, thankfully!

The UK-wide study showed that more than 28.1% of cats (from a sample size of 812 cats) were found to be infested with fleas, and 14.4% of dogs (from a sample size of 662).

The results include a heat-map of the UK, showing areas where flea infestations were found to be most prevalent. The southernmost regions of the UK appear to be areas where fleas can be a particular problem, which is useful to know if you live in those areas, as it can mean that extra vigilance is required.

Sian discussed in detail the diseases that fleas and ticks can carry. Thankfully some of the more grim diseases that fleas can be a vector for, like the plague, aren’t an issue in the UK. However, they still pose a health hazard to humans and the report shows that 11% of the fleas sampled in the study were positive for the bacteria Bartonella, which is the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch disease.

The talk covered the lifecycle of fleas and which flea treatments treat fleas at all stages of the lifecycle. Fleas are resilient and can eventually become inured to most treatments. Sian discussed the differences between topical fipronil-based flea treatments and ingestible fluralaner-based treatments and this has given us great food for thought at Lady Dinah’s about our flea treatment regimen in the future.

We’re hoping to arrange a catch up with the MSD team again at some point to talk in more detail about flea treatments, as we’re very interested in learning more!

We’d encourage our guests who have an interest in pet care to check out the research in more detail, which is available here.


Following Sian’s talk, our guests then joined the Craft Club to make some cat bowls, followed by snacks and a talk from the lovely Michaela Strachan who shared stories about animals in her life and answered questions from the group.

The cats really enjoyed the day with our pet blogger guests and got involved in all the day’s activities. They do really enjoy a bit variety sometimes.

Claire and Debra from Katzenworld Blog brought some Honeysuckle with them, which caused some minor tiffs as every cat wanted it for themselves at the same time. Tink and Peter were especially excited by their first honeysuckle adventures.

We’d like to thank MSD Animal Health and Smoking Gun PR for choosing Lady Dinah’s to host their special event and a big thank you to all their guests who were so lovely with our cat friends. Come back soon!


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