There’s Someone Who Nose How to Sniff Out a Problem

Picture: CDC (PD)

“There was a programme on our TV sets called ‘Dogs with jobs’, right? Dogs with jobs?  And they used to put it on at 11.30 in the morning, right? I was unemployed at that time and I resented a programme called ‘Dogs with jobs’ being put on telly when they knew unemployed people would be watching. […] Oh f—ing hell, even the dogs have got jobs!!”

– Russell Brand

There’s a doggy which has been trained to sniff out patients who have the ‘superbug’ C.difficile. It can clear an entire hospital ward in minutes with a recorded 80 per cent success rate, The Telegraph reports:

The dog, a beagle named Cliff, can sniff out the potentially deadly infection on samples taken from patients and even just from walking around the ward sniffing the air, according to a report published online in the British Medical Journal.

Dogs have been trained to sniff out a variety of diseases, warn epileptics of impending fits and can be trained to assist disabled people, but this is thought to be the first time one has been found to able to detect Clostridium difficile.

C. difficile infection most commonly occurs in older people who have recently had a course of antibiotics in hospital, but it can also start in the community, especially in care homes. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to a life-threatening inflammation of the bowel and the elderly are most at risk.

Two-year-old Cliff was trained to sit or lie down near infected patients on a hospital ward in The Netherlands and was found to accurately detect positive cases of C.diff in 25 out of 30 infected patients. He only wrongly ‘diagnosed’ the infection in five out of 270 hospital patients who did not have it.


Cliff was able to check patients on an entire ward within 10 minutes, making him much faster than conventional tests.

Full story at The Telegraph

Nick Margerrison

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here:

3 Comments on "There’s Someone Who Nose How to Sniff Out a Problem"

  1. The same person who told me about the Muslims and the Jews banding together to force Wendy’s to quit selling the Baconator Burger told me that this isn’t all that new of a technology.

    They’ve been able to train dogs to detect (by scent) and number of different maladies, including cancers.

    The problem is that certain religious groups object to the presence of dogs in their healing wards, so everyone suffers.

    As I understand it, pigs are sometimes even better at sniffing things out, but there is an even stronger opposition to their presence than to that of dogs.

    • InfvoCuernos | Dec 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

      I might have to object if someone leads a dog or a pig through my hospital room, just on the basis of exercising my 4th amendment rights. They say the pig is just sniffing out germs, but what if it finds my contraband truffles?

    • BuzzCoastin | Dec 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

      > As I understand it, pigs are sometimes even better at sniffing things out

      yeah but, the Pigs usually have planted the stuff they’re sniffing out
      which is why most people have an aversion to Pigs
      we are talking about Pigs and not pigs, right?

Comments are closed.