Hospital Uses Young Dog To Track Deadly Infections
An adorable 2-year-old beagle is being used by a North Carolina hospital to help sniff out hazardous bacteria.
Harley the dog roams Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina so she can detect Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) in patients’ rooms and on medical equipment, reports The News & Observer.
A rare gift helped bring Harley to the hospital. The presence of C. diff at the hospital is monitored by Dr. Paul Cook, a professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at Eastern Carolina University’s medical school. Cook had heard of a dog being used to sniff out bacteria at another facility and asked Vidant to help bring in a K9 of their own for assistance. Harley was selected because she is only dog in the United States known to have the ability to detect the smell of C.diff.
A retired member of Eastern Carolina University’s medical school staff, along with his wife, prepared Harley for the jobs through 8 months of intense training. The process started by exposing the dog to a sample of C.diff, then teaching her to sit down whenever she picks up the scent.
In five months of work, Harley’s skills have helped the hospital to track and treat C.diff in about half of the 25 rooms that are checked. But there's perks for the pup, too. Harley is given a treat anytime she detects C.diff.