British Columbia’s superbug hunting K9 team is doubling in size.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is adding two new dogs to its K9 Scent Detection Program.
The initiative has seen two existing springer spaniels, Dodger and Angus, hunt down the C. difficile bacteria in hospitals since 2016.
“And then our cleaning team can immediately attend and disinfect. It helps to cut down on one of the most common superbugs.”
The Ministry of Health says since the dogs were deployed, they’ve visited 30 different Canadian healthcare facilities.
VCH infection control officer Dr. Elizabeth Bryce says the program has helped officials discover reservoirs of C. difficile that they would have never suspected and led to a re-evaluation of cleaning procedures.
“We’re very proud that since the program began we have dropped our rates of C. difficile by 50 per cent,” she said.
“In terms of dollars, at $13,000 a case, that’s a cost avoidance of $2.6 million. But the most important thing is that it has reduced patient suffering.”
On Friday, the public was introduced to the two newest members of the bug fighting squad, a pair of three-month-old springer spaniel puppies.
The pups will be mentored by Angus and Dodger, and will start with some foundational hunting training where they’ll search for toys and snacks.
After about one year, they will be introduced to scent.
One of the pups has already been named Rockey’s Travelling Girl Gone Abroad, or “Traveller” for short, but the public is being invited to vote on a name for the other dog.
The shortlist of names is:
- Olaf, short for Olfactory Sense
- Clouseau, after the detective from the Pink Panther
- Finn, after Huckleberry Finn, or
- Magnum, after Magnum PI