Antibiotic Resistance

It is generally accepted that the over prescription of antibiotics is the number one cause of emerging and continuing development of antimicrobial resistance.

And it is antimicrobial resistance that is the number one health concern worldwide such is the dependency we have created.

It is easy to assume here that this means simply not prescribing antibiotics for viral or non bacterial disease and in a sense this is correct but not entirely.

The entire truth is that there are very few instances at all that antimicrobials are well indicated even when bacteria are present. We need to be clear here to differentiate between pathogenic bacteria and normal commensals but it is only when these get out of balance that true infection occurs. A good and healthy population of commensal (normal) bacteria can keep the bad ones (pathogenic) in check.

It also depends on where they are found, for example gut bacteria getting into the urinary tract are considered pathogenic but that does not mean they are necessarily dangerous.

Bacteria are omnipresent, this means that unless you live in a hermetically sealed and sterilised room that there will be bacteria everywhere. In actual fact there are more bacteria on and in our own bodies than any other cell and this is a very good thing.

The guideline must therefore be extended to include the definition of inappropriate prescription of antibiotic and I wager this encompasses more than ninety percent of antibiotics prescribed.

In my own practice I have prescribed and used antibiotics two or three times in over ten years. All of these cases did not get better with the correct antibiotic because it is not antibiotics that cure patients it is their own immune systems.


If the immune system is working properly it will do the following

  • Elevate the body’s temperature as a healing and protective response to prevent infection and to generate inflammatory mediators to assist tissue repair.
  • Encourage the animal to rest and restore by virtue of the above normal and healthy response
  • Recruit cells to heal damage to tissues and organs
  • Alert antibodies and invasion control cells to attack foreign particles
  • Restore homeostasis


If this is interfered with by the inappropriate intervention of antibiotics then these good responses are arrested and the animal has to wait longer to heal.

Many people observe that their animals feel better almost immediately that they are put on antibiotics and this leads to the false assumption that they are necessary. Antibiotics kill bacteria but as complex molecular structures they do a host of other things include disrupt inflammatory pathways. This anti-inflammatory effect is something we have come to accept as a positive side effect but in fact it prevents the body from doing its job properly and consequently weakens the immune system of the animal.

Please ask your veterinarian to explain why antibiotics are necessary in the cases you present to them and if the answer is to PREVENT infection or IN CASE there is infection please reconsider the necessity to use them. Waiting and monitoring and testing are all appropriate alternatives to giving antibiotics preventatively because it is the animals vitality and not the absence of bacteria that is crucial to cure.

All veterinarians are acting in the best interests of the animals in their care but it is also your animal. There needs to be active communication and decision making occurring if we are to continue the benefits of antibiotic usage for serious life threatening diseases, that owing to depleted immune systems these individuals will depend upon long term.


All animals have the innate capacity to heal themselves given the correct support without the aid of antibiotic therapy unless they are already too debilitated to be beyond cure, in which case they can only be palliated.


When we prescribe antibiotics to an animal we are not curing it and I bet that most of these animals will cure themselves as quickly without the antibiotic if there were more medical choices available that assisted rather than impeded healing.

A major impediment to reducing antibiotic usage is the perception that there are no alternatives.

Try homeopathy, colloidal silver and herbal medicine as well as targeted nutritional therapy as a mainstay of prime health and healing. They are timed honoured, effective and optimum ways to support animals to cure.

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