Episode 17: Antibiotics — How to Avoid them

Antibiotics, Immune System, PodcastLeave a Comment

Today’s podcast is about how to avoid antibiotics.
Why would we want to avoid them?
Well, most antibiotics are toxic to the body, especially the kidneys and liver. And antibiotics kill bacteria–both infectious bacteria and healthy intestinal bacteria.
It is best to think about WHY we use antibiotics, and to start thinking about other possibilities.
We will always need antibiotics for when we or our horses are really sick. But we don’t need antibiotics for every little thing, and we certainly don’t need them as a preventative — “Just in case an infection shows up”.
I talk about other options for skin scrapes, coughing, nasal discharge, and diarrhea.


Links Mentioned:


Summary by AI:
Dr. Renee Tucker discusses the overuse of antibiotics and the importance of avoiding them when possible. She highlights how antibiotics can disrupt the body’s natural balance of healthy bacteria and lead to potential harm to the liver and kidneys. Dr. Tucker shares examples of when antibiotics may not be necessary, such as in cases of minor abrasions, coughs, or diarrhea in horses. Instead, she suggests using alternative remedies like arnica for abrasions or herbal immune support for coughs and diarrhea. Dr. Tucker emphasizes the importance of judicious antibiotic use to preserve the effectiveness of these medications and maintain overall health in animals.

Renee (00:01)
Hello, my friends. Dr. Renee Tucker here. Hello. And so I would like to talk today about infections and how we can avoid using antibiotics.
Renee (00:12)
So what I’d like to do, really, is invite you into a thinking process instead of really what we’ve been taught or raised to think. Anything time, anything’s wrong, give antibiotics. It’s kind of just this knee jerk reaction that a lot of us have just because that’s how we were raised or told what to do. If you have a cough, get some antibiotics. If you have a sore throat, get some antibiotics.
Renee (00:41)
If you have toothache, get some antibiotics. Ear infection, definitely antibiotics. It’s just every single thing. It’s this automatic Western medicine. Get some antibiotics.
Renee (00:54)
That will definitely help, but it can’t hurt anything. Well, as it turns out, it can hurt things, particularly your own body and even the immune system. So the other thing is, we would like to start thinking about how we can avoid using antibiotics, because there have been a few articles coming through about a potential antibiotic shortage, and some of that is supply chain issues and stuff like that. So I am not against antibiotics. I just think that we should use them less and not for every single thing, just in case.

Renee (01:31)
Okay, so you may not be familiar with why antibiotics are not good for the body, so let me just mention that real briefly. It’s because antibiotics, that means against anti, means against BIOS, means life, like biology, okay? So antibiotics are against life and mostly bacteria. So we take antibiotics orally, and then they hit the intestinal tract. And so all through that intestinal tract, those antibiotics are killing all the normal, healthy bacteria.

Renee (02:13)
They kill bacteria indiscriminately. They don’t think, oh, this bacteria is bad, I’ll kill that one. But I’ll leave all these good ones that are helpful. Now, we have a lot of bacteria in our intestinal tract that are very helpful, really helping our immune system, our digestive system, all that kind of thing. And we need those.

Renee (02:33)
That’s why we give probiotics, right, and prebiotics to keep all that intestinal flora happy. But when we use those antibiotics, it screws the whole thing up. You kind of have to start over. In addition, antibiotics can be harmful to the liver and kidney. Now, some of them, it just makes the liver and kidney work harder because they have to clear all that out.

Renee (02:58)
But some antibiotics actually harm the liver and or the kidneys. You can tell by if you look at the package insert, it will say nephrotoxic. Nephro means kidney, and it may say hepatotoxic. Hepato means liver. I don’t know why they talk in code words, but you’d be the judge on that one.

Renee (03:22)
All right, so antibiotics are really, overall, not good for the body, but sometimes we really need some help. And if our immune system just cannot deal with the problem, then it’s a great time to use antibiotics. Okay? So I do suggest that you have some kind of in your storage somewhere, the trimethrim sulfur that lasts very long time. It even works quite effectively past the expiration date.

Renee (03:51)
So if you can get some in your storage, backup stuff for emergencies, that’s a great idea. All right. But what I would like us to do, let me tell you a story, all right? When I was a young vet, I went out to see this horse and he had scraped his whole side really bad. I can’t remember exactly what happened.

Renee (04:13)
I’m not sure they knew what happened, but his whole side was hairless. He had scraped the whole thing. And then you could see where it was kind of hairless and cut and bruised. Now, there was no break in the skin, so there’s no cuts. It just scraped incredibly, probably quite painfully, but there was no cuts.

Renee (04:35)
All right, maybe a few little blood spots, but no cuts. These people really want antibiotics. And I was thinking to myself, but there’s no possibility of infection because the skin is not cut, it’s just on the surface, yes, it looks terrible, but there’s there’s no infection that’s going to happen here. And and they were like, no, we we need that just in case. Like in case of what?

Renee (05:06)
I didn’t say that. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that. But I went and I asked my boss, and he’s like, look, here’s the real reason we use antibiotics for probably everything. He said one, and he said this. He said, we make money on antibiotics.

Renee (05:21)
Two, antibiotics can’t hurt anything, right? And at the time, Gad graduated vet school in 1995. So you do the math. At the time, I didn’t know they can hurt and they are something to kind of be avoided. And then three, he said, you know what, people want to do something.

Renee (05:40)
And again, back in those days, you had trimsorium sulfurs with SMZ, so those were tablets, and you had to smash them up in your mortar and pestle twice a day, syringe it in the horse’s mouth because most of them wouldn’t need it in their grain. So it was kind of a pain. But he said, people want to help. They want to feel like they are doing something. And so when we give them something to do with these smashing of the antibiotics and making their horse take it, they feel like something has been done, rather than explaining to the people that the immune system, that’s what that’s for, we just tend to give out too many antibiotics.

Renee (06:23)
And I think that’s true of veterinarians, true of many doctors. Certainly homeopaths hopefully avoid those again, when you need them, you need them, but they really should be avoided, if possible. And so I’d like to again invite you into thinking about when you should use them and when you should not. So let me give you three quick examples. So just like that story with the horse.

Renee (06:47)
First example, if the skin is abraded, so it is roughed up, it’s scraped, but it’s not cut through the skin. So if it’s not cut through the skin, generally speaking, it’s not bad enough to call the vet because there’s nothing for the vet to suture, right? So a lot of people would just rather not call the vet if they don’t have to. It makes sense. And of course, if you want to go ahead, we’d love to see you.

Renee (07:13)
All right? But if it’s not bad enough to call the vet, then don’t give antibiotics, okay? If at any time your skin abrasion becomes too swollen and something else seems to be going on where the horse has a fever and they’re not eating, then call the vet. But anytime a horse is not eating, that’s serious. We all know horses are very healthy eaters.

Renee (07:40)
So if a horse is not eating, call the vet. All right? But when you have a skin abrasion, don’t use antibiotics. What you can use is arnica. Arnica is spelled A-R-N as in Nancy I-C-A-I learned about arnica when I did a brief stance as an emergency clinician at a dog clinic.

Renee (08:06)
So nighttime emergencies. And we saw dogs that fell out of pickup trucks far more often than you would want to. And talk about abrasions, okay? These guys, their hair is gone, half their skin is gone, and you can see all the bruising coming up through the skin. And we learned to use arnica.

Renee (08:29)
Arnica is a homeopathic. It comes in gels and ointments and little homeopathic tablets. You can use any of those on the horse. And you put that stuff on bruising, that bruising disappears. I mean, you can almost see it in front of your eyes.

Renee (08:45)
The swelling goes down, the bruising goes down. It’s awesome. It will not interfere with any other kind of medications. I have stockpiles of arnica. This is for my boys because they’re always running into something, right?

Renee (08:57)
Or falling off their bikes. Arnica to the rescue. So if you have a skin abrasion, it’s not bad enough to call the vet. Just use arnica now. Don’t put it on an open wound, guys.

Renee (09:09)
Read it, the label. It’s not for open wounds. It’ll burn a little bit. It won’t really hurt hurt, but it won’t be fun. So you put it around the area that has the abrasion, and it will soak through the skin very quickly and still go and do the clear out the bruising and all the swelling and inflammation.

Renee (09:27)
It’s beautiful. Second example, your horse is coughing. It’s got a snotty nose. Again, if the horse has a fever and he’s not eating, call your vet. But if the horse doesn’t have a fever, he’s still eating, he’s drinking, he’s pooping, he’s peeing.

Renee (09:45)
So it’s sort of like us. So if we have a cold or a flu, don’t give antibiotics. Please. Let the immune system do its job. Save your gut flora, save your kidney and liver.

Renee (09:59)
Don’t give the antibiotics. What you can do is use immune support. That’s herbal in nature. So there’s plenty of companies that sell these type of things, and generally it’s kind of a mix. And it includes things like vitamin C, echinacea, rose hips, plenty of stuff like that.

Renee (10:19)
There’s also essential oils that you can get to help support the horse. But if they’re just eating and drinking and snorting all over the place, let their immune system deal with it. Sometimes when horses are coughing and snorting, it actually can be a detox. So maybe their body just wants to do some spring house cleaning and they want to get out some toxins, some chemicals. Who knows what it is, but they’re trying to get rid of it.

Renee (10:48)
Well, they feel fine. They’re just coughing and snorting. And you would like them to stop that, because undoubtedly they’re snorting it all over the place. Good times with horses, right? But if they’re feeling fine, let their immune system deal with it.

Renee (11:03)
It’s perfectly fine to give them an herbal immune support, essential oils. You could talk to your homeopathic veterinarian for other support, but really, their immune system will be fine. Okay? And the third example is for diarrhea. Say your horse has some bad diarrhea.

Renee (11:22)
If they have a fever and they’re not eating, call the veterinarian. But if they don’t have any fever and they’re eating and drinking and pooping and peeing and all fine, don’t give antibiotics for diarrhea. That’s actually the opposite of what you’d like to do, because those antibiotics, as we’ve mentioned, will kill all the gut bacteria. That’s no good. Instead, you want to give probiotics any kind you like.

Renee (11:52)
And then also there’s herbal intestinal support. So again, there’s many companies that make things like that. If you’re new to that, silver lining, at least in America, is a good company. So is Hilton Herbs. I’m sure there’s many more.

Renee (12:08)
Those are the ones I’m most familiar with. If you want to start there. They have herbal support for anything. If your horse has a cold or a flu, they’ve got that. If your horse has intestinal issues, they’ve got that.

Renee (12:20)
Just go look up what your horse’s problem is, and they’ve got some herbs for you. And sometimes you’ll be able to call or email them and say, this is what’s going on with my horse. Do you have a suggestion? Again, this is not for emergencies. Before warning your horse is really, really sick, then you call the veterinarian because you need help right then.

Renee (12:38)
But if your horse is not that sick, please, let’s try the herbal stuff before we jump to the antibiotics, and then we can help our horses be really healthy in the long run. Okay? Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions. I’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.

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