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The Dangers of Antibiotic Misuse and Your Dog

Author: adminClicks: 1253Posted on: 2017-01-13

We have tried to create an environment where we and our pets will never get sick, we have in fact created an environment that may be less healthy overall, and may actually be more harmful to future generations.

On the up side of all this is the hope that we animals can still create and perpetuate a harmonious environment with nature by using the natural methods of health and healing – herbal medicines, acupuncture, homeopathy, etc. Along with this use of natural medicines, perhaps we can also learn the lesson of the importance of living with nature; as we live today, it is a life-threatening certainty that the model of trying to dominate nature isn’t working.


Let's begin with the normal flora destruction. About 1014th (one hundred thousand billion) bacteria live on the skin and in the gut of a normal, healthy human being. This amount is about 10 times more than all the tissue cells that make up an average 150-pound person. Almost none of these bacteria ever cause harm, and many of them are not just beneficial, they are absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy inner and outer environment. For example, a healthy gut actually requires that certain bacterial species be present in adequate numbers, and many of the bacteria normally found on the skin help provide a healthy protective activity against outside invaders.

Only a very small percentage of bacteria ever become pathogenic (causing harm), and the body has many natural mechanisms to keep these pathogens from gaining a foothold. What’s more, it almost always takes some change in the normal body’s homeostatic mechanisms to allow these species to revert to unhealthy ones.

If you use an antibiotic that is effective enough to kill most of the pathogenic bacteria, you have not only instigated the process of creating resistant bugs, but also set off the reaction that can kill many of the beneficial bugs in and on the body. The most common symptom you’ll see from the kill-off of the beneficial bacterial species is diarrhea, the result of destroying the normally protective flora of the gut. However, many medical scientists now speculate that a loss of the normal flora of the body may ultimately lead to chronic conditions such as immune-mediated diseases and cancers.

As regards the adverse side effects, they may be one of the least of our antibiotic-related concerns. But, in a perverse way, this habit of Western medicine to rely on statistical numbers may be a prime contributor to the overall problem.

Even though life-threatening reactions to antibiotics (anaphylactic reactions) occur only rarely, they do occur. And the fact that they are rare is certainly no solace to that one-in-several-hundred-thousand patient who has just become a statistic.

Other side effects are much more common, although they typically affect only a small percentage of the patients being treated. Some antibiotics may be, depending on the individual’s sensitivity to the drug being used, toxic enough to destroy one or more of the patient’s organ systems. More commonly, side effects are said to be “mild” and they are generally thought to be reversible when treatment is discontinued.

Because veterinarians have typically been so cavalier in our approach to antibiotics, it has been easy for them to use antibiotics in inappropriate ways. Over the years it has become common practice for many of us to prescribe antibiotics to treat disease-causing agents that are not affected by antibiotics (viral diseases, for example). Also, we often have used antibiotics as a means to cover for less-than-sterile surgery techniques. And this is to say nothing about those of us who have recommended low levels of antibiotics to enhance growth in food animals. Because each of these practices allows more resistant strains of bacteria to emerge, all of them have helped create the tremendous numbers of resistant bacteria in the world today.

Support your dog’s defenses

In addition to reduced and more thoughtful use of antibiotics, there are several natural methods we can use to maintain our dogs’ health and to treat any disease that may arise:

Probiotics (which literally means “for life,” as compared to antibiotics, which means “against life”) help your dogs maintain a healthy bacterial flora. These beneficial, “good-guy” bacteria are found in the gut in enormous numbers, with smaller numbers occurring in other locations on the body – the vagina, mouth, and skin, as examples. Probiotic species include several species of Bifidobacterium and Lacto-bacillus.

Probiotics have a number of healthful functions including enhancing digestive functions; maintaining control over potentially hostile yeasts and pathogenic bacteria; helping to maintain normal levels of certain hormones; helping to decrease cholesterol; and acting as anti-tumor agents. Perhaps their most vital activity, though, is their ability to destroy bacteria by producing natural antibiotic products.

Probiotics are easily killed by synthetic antibiotics, and returning them to their natural habitat is essential for the long-term health of any animal that is or has been on antibiotic therapy.

The ideal way to recharge the gut with healthy bugs is to supplement with a probiotic product that contains one or more of the abovementioned species. If you are dealing with a specific disease, though, you may need to check with your holistic vet for the appropriate probiotics to use.

Anti-biotic use may become the single most formidable opponent to health we have ever seen in human history. Actually, there are lots of natural ways to prevent and combat infections. We have used some of these methods for millennia; neither our species nor those of our animal companions were on the brink of extinction before we discovered antibiotics! Some infection-fighting methods use substances that already occur in nature, and the best do no harm to the powerfully healing environment all of us living creatures rely on.

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