Dogged pursuit sniffs out C. diff

Another accolade for man’s best friend: A new study finds dogs can sniff out the deadly Clostridium difficile bug with a high degree of accuracy.

A 2-year-old male beagle was able to identify with 100% sensitivity and 94% specificity which stool samples had C. diff in a lab setting, according to results published in the British Medical Journal in December. It was also able to identify which patients had the illness in two hospital wards with similarly high rates of accuracy. 

Researchers say use of a trained dog may make C. diff screening easier in healthcare facilities, and thus further control the prevention and outbreak of the disease.