Former England rugby captain Matt Dawson MBE has put his shoulder behind the new Big Tick Project media campaign to help raise awareness of the risk of ticks to pet owners.
The retired rugby union player, who played scrum half for Northampton Saints and then London Wasps, has revealed he needed heart surgery as a result of contracting Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick in a London park.
Mr Dawson was part of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning side. He is teaming up with wildlife expert Chris Packham to promote the Big Tick Project, supported by MSD Animal Health. Their aim is to help raise awareness of ticks and improve the health of the nation’s pets and their owners.
The sports star is now free of the disease, having undergone multiple heart operations and endured 18 months of treatment, according to the BBC.
Speaking about his infection, Mr Dawson said: “It was a really scary time for me and my family, and I was shocked to find out that a tick bite in Chiswick – such a tiny creature – caused me to end up needing heart surgery.
“Even though I am free from Lyme disease now it really has impacted me. I still have to take daily medication and I now adjust my lifestyle in a number of ways.”
Vets central to campaign
Amanda Melvin, marketing manager at MSD Animal Health, explained: “This recent campaign is part of a series of high-profile media campaigns we’ve organised to help pet owners understand the risks posed by ticks and the importance of seeking advice from vets. Vets are central to this campaign.
Get up to date with tick control
Call or pop in to any of the surgeries to get advice on tick control. Pick up an easy to use tick remover to have on hand just in case – for you and your pets! And if you belong to our Pet Health Club then the best forms of tick control are part of your club membership. Join today https://kernowvetgroup.com/pet-health-club/
Check out more information on The Big Tick Project – https://www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/BFTP
And read more about Matt’s story on https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40973709