Health Minister Terry Lake (centre) with K9 team at VGH.

Who’s a good boy?

Minister lake was at VGH on Monday, March 13 to present Angus with his Working Dog certification badge and to help welcome a new member to the K9 infection control team—Dodger! Like Angus, Dodger (aka Roger Dodger), is a springer spaniel with superb detection abilities. Dodger is getting acclimatized to the hospital and is in the early stages of training to detect C. difficile.

“As a formerly practicing veterinarian, I’m not surprised to hear how well Angus has been doing. He is a welcome addition to the VCH infection control team,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

Learning new tricks from a not-so-old dog

VCH’s infection fighting team has been learning a lot from an unlikely source – Angus, a two-and-a-half-year-old English springer spaniel who is trained to detect Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Angus has spent the last few months working full time at Vancouver General Hospital.  The friendly, feisty infection-fighter has been well received by patients and staff.

“The integration of Angus into a busy health care environment has been seamless,” says Dr. Elizabeth Bryce, Head of Infection Control, Vancouver Coastal Health. “Angus has provided us with a whole new window for identifying reservoirs of C. difficile that we hadn’t identified in the past.”

Angus has detected C. difficile in discarded pieces of furniture and outdated medical equipment.

“As a result, we now know there’s a correlation between clutter and C. difficile, at least at Vancouver General Hospital,” says Teresa Zurberg, Angus’ owner and handler.  “This is something Angus taught us, and we’re able to respond appropriately.”


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