Angus, the hospital dog, can successfully sniff out deadly superbugs!
26 August, 2016

Now yet another reason to love and turn to our dogs for help.  Angus, a springer spaniel with an incredible sense of smell, has been trained to literally sniff out a very common hospital superbug called Clostridium difficile or C. diff, which is considered a very hazardous agent of superbug.

Superbugs cost the healthcare industry about $5 billion a year

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many of the nation’s leading medical institutions are losing the battle to protect patients from drug-resistant bacteria.  These superbugs cost the health care industry about $5 billion a year, but one hospital in Vancouver has come up with a canine solution, according to CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

Angus’ sense of smell is heightened more than most dogs

Angus sense of smell is above and beyond anything we can even comprehend.  C. Difficile is a bacteria. It forms spores so it can persist in our environment for long periods of time.  C. diff is caused by antibiotic use or contact with contaminated surfaces. It’s highly contagious and sometimes deadly, causing half a million infections in the U.S. each year and killing 15,000 people. This bacteria cannot be seen by our eyes, but Angus can smell it.  His sense of smell is way more acute than most dogs.

The bacteria is always present in the hospital so Angus helps try to control it

The bacteria is always be present in a hospital, so what they are trying to do is control it. That’s where Angus comes into play.  He’s trained to detect C. difficile in the environment. The advantage is he detects something, then the hospital can focus on additional targeted cleaning with ultra-violet disinfection machines.

Angus skills are in the 95 percentile of success in detection of the bacteria!

Angus’ skills are tested in a room where the C. diff-positive odors are hidden. Angus has a success rate that ranges between 95 and 100 percent. He’s passed all his exams and will soon be working full time at Vancouver General.  Angus is believed to be the only dog of his kind, but not for long. His brother Dodger will be next, and her owner, Teresa Zurburg. a dog trainer, has said she’s been getting inquiries from hospitals around the world!

Dogs have been used to help low insulin patients and now superbugs, who know what they will be able to do next.

Photo credit and the full story is © 2016 CBS Interactive Inc.

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