Boston - Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital has dropped a controversial pilot program, Yeast Infection Project Dogs (YIPeD), where canines where being trained to quickly identify women with yeast infections. Hospital spokesperson Jane Macaulay said that the program, which was proving to be quite successful, was being canned for "purely non-technical reasons."
Although the dogs had a nearly perfect identification record, the program was faced with a number of issues. "The initial idea was for us to do a quick pre-screening in the waiting room while women waited to see the doctor. However, we found that most women didn't like to be sniffed, and there was a certain stigma associated with a dog's discovery for a positive test. Dog's can't talk, and it is difficult to ask them to act discretely when they find something."
Dr. Henry Watson, Head Ob-Gyn for the hospital was understandably disappointed with the programs demise. "We grown quite close to these dogs, and they have done a helluva job, but we respect the hospital's decision on the matter, and we are going to terminate the program immediately."
It was unclear if the program was totally cancelled or just suspended while refinements can be made. Dr. Watson made it sound as if improvements in the program could be made. "For one, we used Kodiaks, an Alaskan hunting dog with a penchant for corralling pacific salmon."
"It was probably a mistake to use such a big dog," Dr. Watson continued, " We wanted a dog that was big enough to do the job without jumping up on the patient, but the sight of a 100-lb dog coming over for a close sniff was a bit too much for some patients."
Perhaps passing small lap dogs might have been a better solution. The program's director, Dr. Gene Tanenbaum, also indicated it may be a good idea to move away from baying as the signal for a positive test. "If we had it to do over again, we would just have the dogs sit when they find an infected patient."