Training a dog to do all sorts of things can be fairly easy with certain breeds. Some of them, for example, get to feel a sense of danger. Did you know that, besides being our best four-legged friends, dogs possess near perfect sense of smell, somewhere between 10.000 and 100.000 times stronger than our own? That means that dogs can sense even the tiniest traces of smell in a very diluted environment. Imagine two interconnected olympic-sized swimming pools filled with water, and only a teaspoon of sugar dropped inside. Such a sharp sense of smell means that they can trace the odor of smuggled foods, drugs, deadly infections and concealed bombs.
Sniffing bacterium Clostridium difficile is a routine daily task for Angus, a two year old cocker springer spaniel who undertook extensive training for this job. Since March 13th, Angus was officially promoted to a worker dog at his permanent workplace at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.
Bacteria Clostridium difficile can often be found inside human’s digestive system, along with trillions of other bacteria. It gets complicated once a human is treated with antibiotics that wipe out pretty much all the flora, except for the C. diff. Resistance this bacteria gained over time against secondary antibiotics is becoming a significant problem for the doctors. Especially vulnerable subjects are hospital patients who undergo strong antibiotic treatments. One of them, Vancouver General’s nurse Teresa Zurberg had a near-death experience, when she contracted C. diff bacteria. She began training her dog Angus, after she managed to recover from this infection in July 2016.
Since the bacteria can be neutralized fairly easy by using ultraviolet light, help that Angus provides to the hospital’s staff is of great importance. With over 100 potential C. diff spots found within the hospital, Angus proved to be a great investment, and a great guard dog, saving hospital patient’s lives.