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Springer Spaniel Uses His Remarkable Sense Of Smell To Save Patients’ Lives At A Hospital

It is no doubt that dogs are amazingly intelligent animals. Not only do they serve as our best friends, but they also work hard and are trained to do some amazing things.

A two-and-a-half-year-old English springer spaniel, named Angus, has been trained to do some extraordinary work at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.

A dog’s sense of smell is remarkable, estimating to be between 10,000 and 100,000 stronger than our own. While some dogs are trained to detect concealed bombs, drugs, and smuggled food, Angus is trained to sniff out deadly infections.

More specifically, he sniffs out the bacterium Clostridium difficile, also known has C. diff. C. diff can live in our digestive tracts at low levels without hurting us, along with trillions of other bacteria, which outcompete the C. diff for food and living space. But antibiotics wipe out much of those bacteria, leaving C. diff room to grow. Patients at hospitals who are receiving antibiotic treatments are at high risk of getting C. diff infections.

Angus was trained to sniff out places where this deadly bacteria may linger, and has since found it in over 100 different places. Angus’ owner, Teresa Zurberg, who is a nurse at the hospital, began training Angus in July 2016 after she recovered from a life-threatening infection.

Dogs like Angus do amazing work and save many people’s lives. Vancouver General is also training a second spaniel named Dodger to join Angus!

Learn more about Angus’ amazing work in the video below:

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Growing up, Ashley always had a passion for writing. After receiving her Bachelor's in Journalism from Stony Brook University, she now uses that passion to write about the thing she loves most in this world: animals! When she isn't writing, you can find her curled up on the couch with a kindle in her hands and her Guinea Pigs on her lap.