Antibiotics – good and bad

When are antibiotics really necessary in your pet?  Antibiotics are chemicals that kill bacteria.  They are not effective in fighting viruses or other infectious organisms.  I do not believe that antibiotics should be used just because an animal is sick and the cause is unknown, ‘just to see if they help’.  Antibiotics are not benign.  If you need evidence of this, read the package insert of any antibiotic and you will likely be shocked by the number of potential side-effects, some of which can be quite serious and debilitating.  Antibiotics are killing agents, meant to target bacteria.  Whenever you use a killing agent, you also run the risk of adversely affecting the organism you are treating.

Bacterial infections usually appear as something with a drainage, such as an abscess or nasal infection.  It is also important to determine which antibiotic will be the most effective.  Different antibiotics treat different types of bacteria, and some are more effective in certain body systems than others. A culture is the most effective way to determine if there is a bacterial infection, which bacteria is causing it, and which would be the most effective antibiotic.

Are antibiotics are not the only way to fight bacterial infections?  No, absolutely not!  Antibiotics are killing agents, meant to target bacteria.  Whenever you use a killing agent, you also run the risk of adversely affecting the organism you are treating.  Another approach would be to build the natural immunity of the organism and support the healing process.  All animals have an amazing ability to heal, as long as we are not doing anything to break down that process.  Good nutrition, probiotics for immune and intestinal support and minimizing vaccinations are the most important tools for keeping the immune system strong.  Natural antibiotic alternatives such as honey, propolis, garlic, herbs and homeopathic remedies can also aid in fighting infections.

There is a very important and potentially devastating effect of over-using antibiotics. There are some very scary bacteria that are growing in our world today, and they are getting harder and harder to treat.  Why?  They are becoming resistant to the drugs that should be treating them.  Over time, bacteria will mutate to withstand the effects of antibiotics, requiring the use of stronger and stronger antibiotics to treat them.  Eventually, we run out of antibiotic options and these infections can become life-threatening in some individuals.  Bacteria do not become resistant to an effective immune system.

My approach is to try natural support first for simple infections.  For more serious or extensive infections, I may use antibiotics, but will start with a more basic antibiotic that has been around for a while, or use a culture so that I know exactly what I am treating.

A healthy foundation is the best way to treat infections of any kind.  Allowing the body to heal itself will only make it stronger and better able to fight future infections.  Traditional medications such as antibiotics should be used with caution and on a case by case basis.

Here’s to good health!