Dogs can be trained not only to sniff out drugs or bombs but also bacteria after a new study published in the online edition of British Medical Journal revealed that sniffer dogs can detect the presence of Clostridium difficile bacteria.
Researchers at VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, trained a two-year-old male beagle called Cliff to detect the presence of C diff bacteria for over two months. Cliff was then made to sniff 50 stool samples from infected patients and 50 normal samples and was able to correctly identify all of the infected samples and 47 of 50 normal samples.
"For the purposes of detection, the dog did not need a stool sample or physical contact with patients. It would seem dogs can detect C difficile in the air surrounding patients. In addition, dogs are quick and efficient: patients in a hospital ward can be screened for the presence of C difficile infection in less than 10 minutes", the researchers said.