A New Nose in Town

Well actualy, not a new nose but a new take on a nose that’s been around for quite a while.

To give you some background, hospital patients today face a threat from the “Superbug”, a drug-resistant bacteria.

Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) is a potentially fatal bacteria that forms spores and can live in the environment for a long time. The increase and indiscriminate use of antibiotics has contributed to the birth of the new superbug. C.diff is highly contagious, even through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Enter the nose belonging to Angus, a 2 year old Springer Spaniel and Terese Zurberg is a trainer of bomb and drug-sniffing dogs.

While being treated for a cut on her leg, Ms. Zurberg contracted C.diff and nearly died. Her husband, a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital (Canada), suggested she train a dog to sniff out the
bacteria. Ms. Zurberg welcomed the challenge and felt that if the bacteria had an odor, why not.

When the hospital staff was approached with the idea, they agreed to begin a pilot program with Ms. Zurberg. So at 10 weeks old, bringing Angus home, she began his training.

Upon completing his training, Angus proved his worth, identifying hidden C.diff odors, 95-100% of the time and working much faster then other detection methods. The hospital then cleaned the surfaces and then brought in their ultraviolet machine to disinfect further.

Hospitals worldwide are contacting Ms. Zurberg with inquiries about superbug sniffing dogs. She is in the process of training Angus’s brother Dodger to be a C.diff sniffing dog, the second of what we hope will be an army of these dogs to search out this lethal bacteria.

Our best friends are proving once again to be our lifesavers.

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