Healing Our Pets Without Overusing Antibiotics


petIt’s funny how differently we handle health issues and basic daily needs one way for humans and another way for our dear non-human friends, our pets. They eat the same food every day for years on end, and some for their entire life. I’m sure that’s not how nature designed it but it’s the way we do things now. Another thing we do is take them into the vet clinic anytime they have something wrong without a second thought (I notice this more in urban areas than rural ones though). We’ll go weeks with a cold but if poor little scruffy has the sniffles, call Dr. Grey cause I need the OR prepped, stat! But nothing bothers me more than paying hundreds of dollars just to have the vet tell me they don’t know and maybe try this or that, and to “keep an eye on it”. I could do that online for free. Though be careful, home diagnosis can be dangerous. In some mild cases, however, it can work out for the benefit of your wallet, your peace of mind and for the well-being of your best friend.

I have a goofy four year old Bulldog/Pitt-bull buddy named Winslow. If drooling all over the floor after drinking some water were a competition, he would be champion of the world. I recently left him in a kennel for a few days while I got married in August, more for my sanity than out of real necessity. Sure enough when he got back home he started in with the deep, throaty cough and hacking up of phlegm that accompanies the infamous “Kennel Cough” (he had the vaccine by the way). My wife’s parents were still staying with us and had their three dogs with them as well as our other dog Chester. Panic set in quickly for the household when they realized that kennel cough is what he had, being that it is very contagious. I had two choices; go to the vet or research some natural remedies. Being a responsible father I called our vet clinic first and asked some questions but received the answers I knew I would. There was nothing they could do but prescribe antibiotics. Sounds pretty serious right? If something needs antibiotics you don’t want to take chances right? Well that’s not necessarily the best outlook to have.

Antibiotic resistance is a real yet generally misunderstood problem, and part of the reason is overuse and lack of bacterial education. A little history lesson for you, in 1945 Penicillin was first used commercially. One year later 14% of Staphylococcus Aureus (the SA in MRSA) was resistant. By 1950, 59% was resistant and by 1995 the figure rose to 95%. Before the end of the millennium, the first Staph strain resistant to all known antibiotics infected its first three people, just forty-four years after being introduced. Today, the drug companies are making less and less new antibiotics so think about forty-four years from now. Three traits of bacteria help make antibiotic overuse a big issue. 1. Bacteria create new generations every 20 minutes which helps resistant mutations spread fast. 2. When they create a resistance to a particular antibiotic, they can create multiple additional resistances. Even to antibiotics we haven’t invented yet. 3. When they develop a resistance they can, especially during times of stress, pass that genetic code into the environment to other bacteria they come in contact with, even if it is a different bacterium.

Why am I lecturing so hard on antibiotics and kennel cough? Antibiotics work on bacterial infections only, not viral ones, which most kennel cough is a mixture of both so this won’t ‘cure’ kennel cough. Most vets will offer to run expensive tests to verify what exact strands they have but that still ends with a ‘keep an eye on it’ and an antibiotic to just sort of ‘cover the bases’. And given the very real problem we have with resistance, we have to leave them for emergencies only. It is not so far-fetched that within our children or grandchildren’s lifetime, they will be as vulnerable to infection as we were just 100 years ago. We all need to do our part to slow this end of the antibiotic golden age and nature is here to help. Pay attention to keywords such as “anti-bacterial” and “anti-viral”, this is why they work.

kennel cough


The first thing to do is keep them from over exerting themselves. Every time they cough and hack or throw-up, you get irritation in the airways and more inflammation. Keep them relaxed, keep them calm. It’s good not to have company over so they don’t run around like a crazy person (or dog). Oatmeal is good for calming and be sure to limit exercise.

11/15/2013 10:03:04 AM

An important source for this article was accidentally left out by myself when posting. It's "The Lost Language of Plants" by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Aaron Miller

11/15/2013 8:32:24 AM

Natural remedies do work but sometimes in conjunction with prescription meds for our pets. One of our dogs was stricken with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration - posted earlier under Homestead and Livestock. This happens very suddenly and without warning. No treatment, no cure. Our vet did put her on a aggressive regime of antibiotics and steroids and she said it works in maybe less than 5 out of 1000 dogs to give them some restored sight. We gave them to her for a few days instead of the two weeks because the regime was worse than her total blindness. We couldn't bear to see her suffer from the suggested cure and be blind too. About three weeks after she had been off them she regained some limited sight. A reader of my article on SARDS wrote that she gave her dog Bilberry so we tried that. Her eyes look much more healthy and she can see enough to function almost normally. The Bilberry sure helped her but it was administered after she had regained some sight which the vet said was an absolute miracle. I agree fully as the vet said her retina's were fully detached and floating in her eyes. Bilberry is now part of her daily diet and the difference in her eyes is amazing. She still has very limited vision but is able to function as opposed to her previous condition where she was totally blind. I'm grateful for the reader telling us about bilberry and we hope it will keep her retina's healthy for the rest of her life. She has been a new dog since her trauma and we all are thankful for the homeopathic remedy.

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