Answers about C-diff detection dogs

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Keeping it Simple

Is there EVIDENCE that dogs can reliably detect c-diff?

Yes, and the significant evidence is that we have a dog doing it right now in an Ontario hospital.

What strains does he find?

As of mid November Finley is very strong at finding 027 Toxigenic presumptive positive, and is able to discriminate 027 Toxigenic negative.

How's it work?

Dogs can smell things pretty well and c-diff has a distinctive odour. Want more, then see this page about the training program

Really? He can 'SEE' c-diff?

Not with his brown eyes, but with his nose. He is trained to tell us when he smells the odour molecules of c-diff, which may look like this representation.

  K9 finds c-diff on elevator K9 finds c-diff in hallway

Why does your dog stick his nose in my purse?

He's not after your money, secrets, or cheese Danish.  He used his nose to find c-diff inside this box.

.                                                                                              dog found c-diff in this box

Does the dog screen patients?

No, he does not sniff people, or go into rooms with patients.

How do you confirm / verify?

We take a swab and verify with Hardy Diagnostic's Banana Broth.  It's temperature sensitive so we use a travel case with 2 dozen vials.

Banana Broth in COLD travel case

What does PHAC recommend for locating c-diff?

"Take a swab and do the lab work".
A lot has changed, and October 2019 is the debut of our innovative resource.

Will your dog(s) be disruptive or cause harm?

Some dogs would certainly be disruptive; our dog is calm and can pass the Alberta Service Dog Standard for Public Access. One thing he does not do in the test is to walk at heel- we encourage him to be a searcher not a passive walker.

How long does it take to sweep a room?

We average 10 minutes for a clinical area.

Its Magic!

No it's not magic or mysterious, it's what dogs do. We simply shape his skill with months and months of special training.

Can we see a sample demonstration?

Yes, we can conduct a blind test of the dog's ability to locate c-diff. You'll smile when you see our dog in action, and a half hour is often enough.

Does your dog wear booties?

Our dogs don't wear PPE. Our dogs have the same chance of acquiring HAI that you do. He stays healthy and we have protocols which minimize risk. An associated question was asked about his introducing new risk. This has been studied by Guelph University and the answer is not likely when following protocols.

Could your dog spread bacteria and germs?

Yes, just like human visitors, but we have protocols to minimize the risk. We do not encourage people to touch the dog. We wash his feet with a portable cleaning device, his harness and leash are bagged for disinfection, and his travel crate is disinfected.

Do you hold a license from PHAC?

Public Health Ontario asked this question. No, a license is not required because the c-diff we use in training does not contain pathogen or toxin.

Is this Contractor affiliated with Vancouver Coastal Health?

No, we are a private company and not attached to VCH.
We have consulted and visited with their innovative C-diff detection team and appreciate their guidance and articles.

How much does it cost?

We negotiate a modest rate per day. It usually works out to a fraction of your traditional costs.

Will staff HH improve?

We don't have proof of a natural short-term improvement. We'll be studying this subject and may have statistical data in January 2020.

Is this a reliable tool for an audit?

If you can measure something, you can understand it. If you can understand it you can improve it.”

Can I see your records?

We keep several types of database records, all very detailed. The dog's daily training record in an essay style. The search and alert records are in chart style for detailed surveillance reports. And, yes, it's an open book.

Doing Good Work

Make contact by e-mail or call 705-718=9711