Are You Allowing This Dangerous Animal Dental Mistake?

We're Pulling Teeth. Antibiotics Are a Must.

A whole lot of animal dental work ends up wiping out beneficial gut flora, a major part of the immune system of your animal. Some estimates see these microbes as comprising 80–90% of everyone’s immune system! The danger of a malfunctioning immune system should be pretty obvious by now.

So, this microbiome is not something to wantonly kill, but it happens all too easily.

Why?

Dr. WhiteCoat usually prescribes something like this:

Not entirely sure what's going on, but let’s give some antibiotics and see if she improves.”

In animal dental procedures specifically, here’s the tired old party line:

There are some seriously scary bacteria around those teeth, maybe even a whole pocket of them around that tooth we’re going to pull. Abscess! Germs are baddddd!

With extraction comes bleeding. Bleeding means the blood will pick these bacteria up and circulate them. {Shudder} They could land on the heart valves, and make them fail. They could wind up, well, anywhere in your poor animal’s body! Gaaaa!”

Have you been told something similar and bought it? If so, read on and you’ll gain the confidence to just say, “No!”

Common, But Not Needed

When I hear symptoms in their animals that owners don’t think of as symptoms, I have a thought-provoking phrase that helps clarify things:

“This is common, but not normal.”

Examples include:

  • ears that build up wax and need weekly cleaning.
  • dogs that smell, well, “doggy.” Especially when they get wet.
  • cats on 100% moist food who drink water daily.

To a thinking homeopath, these are all subtle symptoms of disease.

In dentistry, the “common but not needed” variation takes hold when we speak of giving antibiotics “prophylactically.”

Reality Check. Experts: “Speak!”

Let’s get some real experts to weigh in on this. Here’s what some board certified veterinary dentists have to say about giving antibiotics around dental work.

The long held belief that oral infections …result in systemic illness or cause disease processes in distant locations, does not have scientific merit.

This concept often drives recommendations for systemic AMD (antimicrobial drug –Ed.) use. Therefore, most prophylactic AMD use in dentistry has no scientific basis.”1

 

These vets, who specialize in animal dental work refer to research from the human world to support their stance: Tong et al

Here’s another human reference from the literature, where the researchers did an exhaustive search to find if there was any good reason to give antibiotics around dental work.

Even looking at people with established disease, like immune suppression while on chemo for cancer, or those with heart disease or diabetes, they concluded,

The authors found little or no evidence to support this practice or to demonstrate that it prevents distant site infections for any of these eight groups of patients.

No definitive, scientific basis exists for the use of prophylactic antibiotics before dental procedures…”

Better Prophylaxis: Immune Support

If you want to do something likely to increase the odds of your animal sailing through dental work without any aftermath, or if “germs on the loose” still scares you, it makes good sense to stimulate your animal’s immune system before and after dental work.

My method of choice is using the transfer factor products. These tiny immune molecules have over 50 years of research behind them and they boost the immune system’s intelligence.

Practically speaking, that means they help the immune system to intelligently:
- recognize foreigners (like those bad, bad mouth germs),
- respond effectively (which includes shutting down when the job is done), and
- remember those germs for future reference.

I have used these in my practice for the past decade, and take them myself. They work. Better than anything they’ve been measured against in terms of immune boosting.

You can get a free book I've written on how I use them for various conditions when you join the Vital Animal Pack. Membership is free, and members get immediate [soon: it's being rewritten] access to my ebook, Insider Immune Protocols. I’d suggest following the surgery protocol, as dentistry is a similar challenge.

Help Healing After Dentistry

There are a couple of well known homeopathic remedies that match the state of trauma incurred in getting teeth pulled. I described how to use them earlier on this page.

And, in case you missed it, this discussion has its roots in last week’s post, Rotten Teeth Cause Cancer. Read that article to learn the correlation between funky mouths and cancer.
So, get the bad teeth outta there, but do it intelligently and don’t buy the “antibiotics are necessary” part of the package. You can clearly see the experts don’t recommend them.

Tell us in the comments if you’ve been through dentistry without antibiotics and how that’s worked for you. My patients, when they've needed dental work, have done just fine without them.

1Source

75 Comments

  1. MsMoneypenny on August 20, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    When I was in a car accident, I was given prescriptions for antibiotics and pain killers, blah blah blah. The ER doctor stressed that I HAD to take the antibiotic (Keflex?) I had had 14 stitches on my forehead. Not believing in taking antibiotics prophylactically, I didn’t. I filled the Rx in case it did show signs of infection- which it never did. I used the topical they gave me for a couple of days and then switched to calendula gel and aloe.

    Only thing that hurt were my bruises and the only thing I took was Arnica. Healed beautifully.

  2. Ashley on March 18, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Getting the right antibiotics is what matters.My dachshund got her teeth worked on in January and was sent home with amoxicillin.Skip forward to March and I got my first job so I decided to take my dachshund to a more advanced vet who did blood testing,cb testing,physical testing,and so fourth.I found out she had a dental infection even though she just had her teeth worked on.I thought her breath smelled really bad for just getting them worked on.He put her on clavmax and it cleared right up.I think amoxicillin must not work to great for dogs.

  3. Roxanne Pukas on February 2, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    My 14-year-old Shih Tzu had dental cleaning they removed two infected teeth. The day I took her home after the cleaning and extraction in the car pulling out of the veterinarian Parkway she had a seizure it’s two weeks later And since then has had seven seizures. The veterinarian claims it has nothing to do with the anesthesia. My Sophie had never in 14 years had a seizure. So dental work on the anesthesia in our dogs is a very dangerous drug

    • Ashley on March 18, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      Did you have blood work done on your dog prior to the dental? If you did then I don’t think the vet did anything wrong.However,if your vet skipped that step,then it’s more likely the vets fault your dog is seizing.Blood screening is very important for even the most minor procedures.

      • MsMoneypenny on August 20, 2023 at 7:29 pm

        No 14 year old should be anesthetized.

    • MsMoneypenny on August 20, 2023 at 7:27 pm

      A vet I brought my dog to wanted to anesthetize him to shave him down and flush his ears and apply some noxious medicine called Claro.

      Uh uh, nope, not happening.

      My dog got very overgrown and matted because no groomer would take him without proof of vaccines- despite the fact he’s 11 years old and has had health issues since he was OVERvaccinated 5+ years ago. No more. I looked and found a home groomer who never even asked about vaccines. No anesthesia needed!

      As for ear flushing and Claro, no to that too. It’s antibiotics AND steroids. I want to help his ears without any of that nonsense. His appetite/poop, et are perfect. Not going to mess with that.

  4. Salsabil on May 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Hello, my 2 year old German shepherd went in to be neutered today. While the Vets conducted the initial exam they noticed his front right canine tooth was broken. They said there wasn’t really anything we could do to fix the damage as it looked to be a week old and it could cause infection. They extracted the tooth and stitched him up. How do I go about his recovery for an extracted tooth? Also if they give me antibiotics where do those stand since he will also be healing from his neutering? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

  5. frank car on March 25, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    You will not ever get your pet’s teeth cleaned if like me you had a good friend who had his dog’s teeth cleaned and a week later the dog was DEAD!! No antibiotics given and the vet confirmed it was the heart valves. The dog was healthy middle aged and not obese. Save all the BS homeopathic crap for yourself and not for your dog. Animals should not be experimented on for your own self-serving interests. I am appalled that anyone would use witch doctor tactics on an innocent animal. You all are all probably child anti-vaxxers also and endanger all the rest of us.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 29, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      I’m calling BS on this, frank. Even the top human dentists, the ones who’ve done the research, know antibiotics around dental cleaning and the whole heart valve inflammation connection is weak to non-existent. You can, of course, do what ever you like with your own animals, your own kids, and yourself, but save the preaching for your own blog. No one here is interested in your head in the sand views.

      • MsMoneypenny on August 20, 2023 at 7:34 pm

        THANK you, Dr Falconer. With you 100%!

        Frank is not well. He could probably use some aconite.

  6. Suz on March 5, 2019 at 1:47 am

    Hi I just took Starbuck my 12 year old cockerpoo to get teeth cleaned and a tumor removed from his eye lid.

    I was shocked at how messy and lethargic he looked. I gave him the first round of antibiotic drops but noticed he gave off a strange odor.
    I am worried that hes moving sloppy, and feel dreadful that I gave him the drops now. The other eye looks bloodshot too.

    I gave him some probiotic before and after the drops. I hope I didn’t do too much damage. I hope he doesn’t get a yeasty body now.

  7. Rebecca on November 24, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Hello, My female Jack Russell “Roxy” is 14 yrs and had a swollen jaw over night. My vet dx her with periodontal disease and found an abscess and multiple rotten teeth that need to be extracted. Roxy had oral surgery on 11-19-18 with multiple tooth extractions. For pain control we decided on a fentanyl patch because roxy can seek out any pill that is disguised in food and discard it. The next morning she was coughing so vet did a chest X-ray and found fluid in her lungs and an enlarged heart. The X-ray also showed her prior collapsed trachea. I chose the fentanyl patch so I wouldn’t have to try and get pills down her, needless to say she was dickered with Meloxicam anti inflammatory, Furosemide diarectic and Vetmedin for congestive heart failure. Before Roxy went in for surgery she wasn’t ill at all, now she has stopped eating is vomiting and lethargic. I’m very worried about her condition. Please give me some suggestions? Thanks

    • Bethany on March 18, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      If she is not eating then that’s probably why she’s lethargic and throwing up.Her sugar and protein can nose dive quickly since she’s a little dog.The heart failure shouldnt keep your dog from eating.I had a dog with congestive failure and he ate fine.Maybe it’s the swelling or the collapsed tranchae.She needs to eat for sure even if you have to force feed her.I’d feed her small amounts so it won’t make her feel sick.You could try nutrical.It’s liquid food.

  8. Rocky on November 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Hi. My dog is 11 years old, pretty healthy and fit, always running around, still has a lot of energy. The only problem with him is the teeth really. The last few years he has had a few bad teeth. A few front bottom teeth have already fallen off and healed already. There is a top on that has been bad and loose for about 3 years. It looks like it will fall off soon. His breath smells rotten probably from infection or whatever. Basically he has a top loose tooth, another top tooth right before the canine that is slightly loose with receding gum and receding gum as well on the bottom canine tooth and there is a slight brown mark on it too, I’m guessing it might be a dead tooth for years now from injury.

    I clean all his teeth everyday with a cotton ball, just to wipe off yucky stuff or food. I know that doesnt help much but I like to think it does. I know all the bad stuff is under the gum. I also use tropiclean gel and water additive. Not sure if it helps but I’ll still use them. I think it helps someway. I still give him bones once a while to clean the back teeth (molars) which are fine.

    Now of course most people would take him to the vet to get a teeth cleaning and antibiotics etc but I am way too scared to put him to sleep. I just hear too many bad stories, even in the comment section here that their dogs arent the same after the extractions/teeth cleaning. I feel like perhaps I should just leave it unless I see an emergency. He eats, drinks, plays and seems to be very happy everyday. It’s just those teeth/gums/bad breath. Someone keeps telling me to just go to the vet and get him on antibiotics to kill the infection, even if I dont want teeth cleaning/extractions. I just can’t bring myself to take him to the vet and put him to sleep when he is happy and fine the way he is now. The only thing that worried me was the “infection can get into the bloodstream” blah blah thing. I know what the vet will say if I took him there (which costs money anyway just for a visit). They will just tell me he needs extractions, antibiotics and that’s that.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 25, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      I’d get those teeth out. Look for my article on rotten teeth, inflammation and cancer.

      Refuse the antibiotics and boost his immune system as I outlined in that article.

    • Todd on March 18, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      I feel sorry for your dog.He has to suffer from sickness and pain because you are afraid of treating your own dog.This is neglect and you aren’t protecting your dog like you’ve convinced yourself.

    • Polly on September 7, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      I have always had the intuition to not put my dog under anesthesia for dental work … I take him for non-anesthetic dental cleanings. Try to find one in the area. The dentist there also recommended that I start brushing his teeth which I will start doing and give him raw chicken necks to chew on to help with build up in the teeth.

  9. Yuka on October 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I have a question about UTI and treatment that actually works. Since she was around 12, she has gotten UTI fairly frequently. She pees normal at the beginning of our walk but towards the end of the walk, she is still wanting to pee with dribbles coming out. Towards the end I see droplets of blood. In the past Vets would give clavamox for 2 weeks. I hate doing this because it affects her beneficial bacteria like mentioned on this site. She also gets yeast infection on her whole body usually after no matter how much probiotics I give her every day. I’ve noticed that she probably has UTI again. I don’t want to do the clavamox again because clearly it just keeps coming back. I’ve tried tinkle tonics, apple cider vinegar, bladder supplements, cranberry extract capsules, goats yogurt. I’m not seeing much change and I’m wondering if these holistic ways I mentioned isn’t strong enough. Please help me. Thank you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on October 6, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Hey Yuka,

      What you’re describing is simply chronic disease: disease that recurs, over and over again. It’s beyond supplements and probably diet to fix, especially for a 12 year old, but what does work is hiring a homeopathic vet to work with her as the unique individual that she is. I tell you how to choose a qualified on in my free Apoquel Alternatives Report. If you’re already a Vital Animal Pack member, you’ll find it as a download here: https://my.vitalanimal.com. If you’re not, it’s free to sign up here: https://my.vitalanimal.com/p/vital-animal-pack/

      All the best, and you’ll be so happy when this is cured!

  10. Guinnie on October 6, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Dr. Falconer,
    Ive been on the internet for months researching root tooth abscess and extractions and almost all that I’ve seen say the same thing the vets I’ve been to say.
    My 13 year old shepherd mix was gnawing on a raw bone marrow (was probably too small) and an hour later, she had swelling in her left cheek. Vet said tooth root abscess and told me the only way is to extract her tooth and sent me home with antibiotics and carprofen. I avoid antibiotics and pain meds like the plaque so I didn’t give her any. In 2-3 days swelling went a way. I was told and read that it was a matter of time the swelling would return without the extraction. I went to a board certified dentist and he said the same. He said her gums look a bit swollen still and he would remove some other cracked and dead teeth he saw during the exam. I even spoke to her internist and she too said it needs to be done and that she was healthy enough to get it done. I did scheduled for her surgery mid Oct, she hasn’t had any issues with her mouth. She eats like normal and no swelling. She doesn’t have periodontal disease (no bad breath). My dog is arthritic and we manage it with many natural supplements. I almost lost her from an unexpected autoimmune disease last year and after a long and difficult recovery, she is well. She is however frail from losing a lot of muscle mass from the 6 months of prednisone. We get blood work done very frequently and all have been clean (some times slight elevation of liver enzyme). I give her all her vitamins and colostrum daily, especially because I think she shows signs of mild UTI and mild yeast infection from time to time. I will probably try this Transfer Factor because no matter what I give her, I don’t think her immune system is what it used to be.
    My question is, is a tooth extraction necessary when they suspect an abscess even though swelling is gone and she has no issues eating and swelling hasn’t returned for 2 months.
    Like everyone I worry about putting her in pain and anesthesia scares me.
    Her surgery is scheduled and I do plan to get a full blood work done this week. I too question the truth about infection spreading in to the blood stream.
    I’m hoping you can give me some advice.
    This might help your readers but I used to give her raw bone marrow to gnaw on (I wont be doing that anymore) but it did help with keeping her teeth clean. I’ve also been using a product called plaque off and it remove plaque like a dream!
    Thank you.

  11. Nikki on June 6, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    My 10 told jack Russell mix had many extractions, all healed well. BUT he hasn’t been the same since! One of the extractions was upper right back molar. Since removal his right eye is droopy, his right pupil is non reactive, he eats very carefully and is picky with snacks. He is reserved, wont play with the other dogs or is. Basically a different dog. Vet says unlikely to be related to extractions. I question, why was he fine when I dropped him off?! Fast forward 4 months, They say could be an underlying issue and want MRI, spinal tap and antibiotics. I say no way. Any ideas?

  12. Shane on October 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Hi, my 14 y/o jack Russell just had some bad teeth pulled. It’s actually my girlfriends dog and she brought her to the vet. Surgery went smooth but she had to give her antibiotics daily for I want to say a week after. I just found your article(albeit to late maybe) while looking for help on what’s become a very bad cough that’s developed afterward. She would cough once in awhile previous but not this bad. In fact, we thought the previous cough was from the bad teeth which led us to bringing her for surgery. Well, currently we are trying to find more natural remedies that might aid this if you have any suggestions? Could it be recovery symptoms or caused from taking the antibiotics? Last night she was coughing so loud and also threw up a bit in the middle of the night. Comes and goes but nighttime was bad.
    Thanks,
    Shane

  13. L Coggins on August 21, 2017 at 1:55 am

    My 12 yr. old standard poodle girl is scheduled in a couple of days for a dental and to remove a couple of sebaceous cysts that aren’t healing. She has a stage 3 heart murmur and the vet recommended antibiotics started a couple days before. I went ahead and got them against my better judgement because of the heart murmur. I have to admit I’m a little nervous about the whole thing.I’m thinking of postponing it a week and getting her started on some TF and a good probiotic. She’s previously been on just a colostrum product but has been off about a month. She also eats yogurt and kefir for the probiotic benefit.So after reading this I won’t be giving the antibiotics…but I won’t refuse a little extra reassurance. 🙂

  14. Linda Bazan on February 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I would love some advice on fleas and ticks, I must have spent over $1000 last summer trying to control fleas and ticks with natural products (Wondercide). We even had baby ticks in the house, I was spraying my dog everytime we went outside but to no avail. Finally had to have the yard and house sprayed several times because they were even getting on us. It was awful, would appreciate help.
    Linda

  15. Yvonne on February 2, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    We just had one of our cats teeth done and they removed the two back molars. They gave us the option of Clavamox or Cefovecin injection. We opted for the injection thinking it would be better than putting the Clavamox through the digestive tract and killing the gut flora. What’s your opinion on the injectable antibiotics?
    We appreciate all your help and wonderful information. Thank you!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 3, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Yvonne,
      I’m afraid antibiotics given by injection will circulate everywhere, and that includes the lining of the gut, so they’ll still do their damage. I’d now plan on months or even lifetime probiotics and see what you can rebuild down there.

      • Yvonne on February 5, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        I’ve been feeding them the Wysong Addlife supplement that I read about on your blog since October. Is this a good source for prebiotic or probiotic? Or is there another you would recommend? They like to Addlife.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on February 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm

          Excellent source of both, Yvonne. Good call. For those who’d like to read more about this, please click on over to The Missing Ingredient.
          Most animals like the taste and there’s a great spectrum of probiotics as well as some very nutritious additions.

          • Yvonne on February 5, 2016 at 6:56 pm

            Wonderful!!! Thank you so much! I am going to order the Transfer Factor Feline Complete too for the future.



  16. Sunny on January 24, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Hello Dr. Falconer – I am generally very against antibiotics and give my dog high quality probiotics among other supplements. I am planning to take my 5 yr boxer in for dental xrays and likely some gingivectomy, due to starting to have difficulty chewing / avoids chewing, etc. (Fed a primarily raw diet with some dehydrated.) I also have a concern there could be some decay/infection due to the gum overgrowth, so may also have extractions of any problem teeth. I normally would avoid gingivectomy unless truly necessary and realize it likely will regrow. I will also work with my homeopathic vet to see what remedies may help with immune system imbalance. My question is, if both scalpel gingivectomy and extractions are done, would you still recommend no antibiotics? Just watch closely and start giving if an infection occurs? Transfer Factors sounds good. Also, any recommendation for pain med substitutes? Or is what the traditional vet might give be ok? Thank you for creating Vital Animal!

  17. LLuvia Berkley on January 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Will Falconer,
    Hi,
    I am so grateful to have found this website. I have an almost 15-year-old Rottweiler named Tarzan. He does not get around as well as he used to, his mom (me) helps him to get up, but once he is up he walks around and sniffs the grass and flowers and such.
    He does have lumps throughout his body, last time he was taken to a vet I was told they were non-malignant .
    Besides his mobility, he really does not seem to be in any sort of pain, or under any distress. He gets bored, and misses his mom when I have to go to work, but otherwise seems to be a very happy big guy .
    I stopped taking him to the vet some years ago when I opened my eyes to the fact that, just like people doctors, they’re not interested in healing us, they are interested in profit.
    Tarzan has just recently had a bout with a bone, and one of his molars has become loose and a snaggletooth.
    The tooth seems to be disconnected from the bone, and simply attached to the gum still… Somewhat hard to tell.
    Tarzan is too old to have anesthesia, and he does not appreciate a cold vets office in the least.
    I am not sure if I need to have the tooth pulled, or if perhaps this is something that can work itself out with more chewing and time. It does not seem to be infected, but of course that is my main worry. It does not seem to bother him all that much -except during feeding time, so I have learned to soak his food with hot water and make it soft, this seems to make feeding easier on him.
    I worry to take him to the vet because I know that they will say he is old, don’t want to risk infection, and they will want to put him on antbiotics, or other meds that would negatively impact his senior citizen organ functions. I am against all these conventional poisons they push down our throat.
    He has been without vaccines for some years now, and he seems to be a very healthy boy other than this tooth, and the inevitable process of what old age naturally brings.
    He is my baby, and he is my world.
    Any advice you can give would be so greatly appreciated. Do I need to rush to the vet, or is there something I can do myself? Can I wiggled the tooth out myself? I am worried sick with this, and struggle to know if I am hurting him more by not taking him to a vet. Please help me with any advice or information.
    Thank you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      A molar? Those are the very back teeth, hard to imagine one wiggling without causing pain with every bite.
      I’d have a vet look at it and get an opinion on your options. If what they want isn’t what you want, polish up your No Word. Or, minimally, “I’ll get back to you on that, but not today.”

      • LLuvia Berkley on January 21, 2016 at 9:19 am

        I’m not positive it is a “molar” ….
        Bottom left side behind the canines…
        My worries are that he is too old for anesthesia and he is not friendly with strangers.

  18. KD on January 19, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Would you suggest elderly FIV cats that have yellow teeth and gum disease should forego antibiotics post-dental surgery as well?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Absolutely. If any animal can ill afford immune damage, it’s these poor guys. Allergic to their own teeth is my understanding.
      Immune support, hands down, will be better for them.

  19. Janice Webster on January 19, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Question about Chia dosage. Are your recommended chia dosages for the raw seeds or after it’s been made into a gruel? I already use it for myself, dog and horse, but it sounds like we could up our does. Many thanks for all you do!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      Just the dry seed, Janice. But I have to think any amount of this is helpful. And, conversely, there’s probably no practical dose that’s too high. Have you seen any benefits you can discern?

      • Janice Webster on January 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm

        My 21 year old horse has been on approx 1/4 cup dry chia seeds am and pm for 5 years at the recommendation of his holistic vet. He’s also eating copra meal (coconut) so his food gets wetted, making those chia seeds extra slippery. He’s shiny, and healthy with excellent motility. Just started our dog on it to help with occasional itchiness. And I find the some great success you mentioned for myself. 😉 Amazon is the best price in bulk as you mentioned.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 20, 2016 at 4:43 pm

          Beautiful! The whole regular family is benefitting 😉
          For those wondering why chia is coming up in the comments, I included in my Tasty Tips in the last issue of Vital Animal News. If you haven’t availed yourself of this yet, you can by joining our free Vital Animal Pack.
          Never know when you’ll get tips that apply to the whole fam damily!

  20. Margaret Smith on January 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    You mention Transfer Factors for immune support. Are they safe to give to a pregnant bitch who had antibiotics just before breeding?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Margaret,
      Transfer factors, being sourced from colostrum and egg yolk, are safe (and effective) in all species. They are universal and natural. They are in our white blood cells as we speak.
      On the other hand, are antibiotics safe? That’s the question worth asking.
      All the best.

  21. Eva Doty on January 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Our precious 11 yr old poodle mix with a leaky heart valve had his teeth cleaned last July. Afterwards he had a cough — like something was stuck in his throat and he was trying to cough it up. Our vet said the tube used during intubation caused throat irritation and gave him an antibiotic and a cough tablet. The cough continues still after over 6 mo. Seems it could be related to congestive heart failure, so now our “child” is taking Vetmedin and a diuretic. The cough is really bad although he doesn’t seem to feel bad. Can anything be done? I’d like to bring him for an appointment but can’t access the web page.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Eva,
      First step is a solid diagnosis. That’s going to help a vet homeopath get focused on his case. Lots of reasons someone can cough.
      I’m not taking new chronically ill patients for a while now, but my Resources page will point you to the AVH list. Don’t be afraid to work at a distance with someone who practices this medicine solely or at least mostly.

    • Kathryn Kawazoe on January 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Hi, Eva.
      My dog, Mola, recently went to the vet for a referral to a dental specialist (see post in previous article where I explain all this…), and was found to have a grade 3 or 4 out of 6 heart murmur. He coughed a few times this past summer, which is when I found the swollen gum, and he recently (this past wk) had a bad coughing bout. Every evening he coughs at least once, and clearly feels nauseous (threw up; seems worse in the evening, but he also threw up a little after his morning meal today). He can’t be put under anesthesia for dental surgery until he’s cleared by the cardiologist, who doesn’t have an opening until March…! So, I’m paying close attn to heart/dental info right now.
      I’m wondering if maybe the surgery/anesthesia made your dog’s heart issue worse (thus the resulting cough).? Can you let me know if you find out anything more related to cough/anesthesia/remedies? (don’t know if we can send personal msgs to members in this forum or if they have to be sent to group…) Also, I’m wondering if Dr. Falconer has input on this.?
      Many thanks!

  22. Nora on January 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Antibiotics almost killed me–I dang sure ain’t givin’ em to my fur babies! Antibiotics don’t just kill the good gut flora, they do even more damage when they end up in the liver, which is the body’s detox factory, a double whammy.
    But Chia Seeds?! Do you realize if I give them chia seeds, that I’ll be turning them into a Cha Cha Chia Pet? Hoo hoo hoo, ha! Sorry doc, I couldn’t resist your pun-perfect tasty tip!
    Chia seeds and Slippery Elm Bark extract are wonderful for cat constipation and mega-colon. Chia sprouts are tasty, too.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Love it, Nora! But do you have to eat the chia sprouts with a tweezers and magnifying glass? That’s one tiny seed!

      • Nora on January 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        Hey…did someone tell you now thick my glasses are?!
        You sprout them in a windowsill, like alfalfa or sunflower. I got mine at Whole Paycheck, tiny bag–big nutrition. Use a spoon!

  23. Elle on January 18, 2016 at 9:36 am

    You are absolutely spot on about human and animal docs dispensing RX’s, or actual prescription bottles of anti–biotics, prophylactically. And what you said about docs recommending taking them before and after a dental procedure has been de rigueur for decades. I was co-owner of a dental office for 25 years and saw this practice close up. It’s astounding the ignorance that surrounds this purported “miracle” drug.
    Living up in farm country for some years, our visits to the conventional vet were few and far between. Once for neutering our guy and several other times for stitches, as farm dogs are subject to quite a few hazards. Every single time, the vet gave us antibiotics to administer to the dog. For no good reason I could think of except “just in case.” I just brought the meds home, put them in the refrigerator, and then eventually tossed them in the trash.
    And BTW, with each of those visits, I was asked if my dog was up-to-date on his shots. And I always answered in the affirmative. He didn’t care if the dog was sick or not. He just wanted to upsell.
    It’s unbelievable how antibiotics are dispensed with so many procedures. Big pharma has been quite successful in brainwashing the professional medical masses. Reminds me of how conventional farmers parrot Montsanto about using GMO’s and Roundup. “We’re feeding the world.” In both cases, what we’re feeding them, however, is poison.
    Yikes!

    • Tif on January 18, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Hi Elle,
      Happy to hear of another informed pet owner about vaccines.
      I switch vets all the time, and am very clear that my dog and or
      cat has all their vaccines. No, the vet doesn’t need to see the records,
      because they are in a box in storage, as I always say I just moved,
      and no I don’t remember exactly which vet gave which vaccines and
      change the subject or ask questions about something else, like how much
      do you sell flea tick pesticides for or heartgard pesticide for, even though I am not going to buy it, but to get them busy trying to sell me something else and to stop asking me about the poison shots. When they think they may sell something else, they stop bugging you about the poison shots.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for your practical insight, Elle. Never knew you had that dental background. And right on: “Yes!” to the Q: Is he current on his shots? True for life if he got them as a youngster.
      Big Pharma and Big Ag are definitely on the same page: profits win, people lose.

  24. Paul on January 18, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Hi Dr. Falconer,
    About 14 weeks ago my 90b Pitbull had a abscess develop over one of his canine teeth. The bottom tooth had wore a groove in the upper canine tooth and after a couple years of having this groove in his tooth the root finally died I guess. The tooth got darker and one day his breath smelled like a rotting carcass. He had developed a abscess but the vet couldn’t get him in to pull the tooth for a couple weeks so Rush was put on antibiotics to eliminate the infection and then another 7-10 days of antibiotics after the extraction. Would you say the antibiotics were unnecessary in this situation? Btw, all this happened just a month after Rush had TPLO surgery for a completely torn ACL. I’m happy to say that now he is doing great! I thank you in advance for your advice on this and also for your seemingly endless supply of knowledge to help us improve our pets lives 🙂
    Paul (and Rush) in Michigan

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 6:22 am

      Hey Paul,
      Well, I hope Rush is done with his med storm of late.
      Antibiotics and abscesses: they don’t work. A subject for another post, likely. The drug can’t get to the bug with enough concentration to kill it in all the pus, and it’s walled off anyway, by definition. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s going into Evernote now to tickle my memory for later.
      p.s. be sure to read up on ACL’s (or CCL’s in dogs). Search in the search box on most every page for the word “cruciate). The other one has a 50% chance of rupturing. Vaccines play a role.
      Best to you both.

      • Paul on January 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm

        Thanks Doc. Rush is about 7 now and he hasn’t had any vaccines in the last 4 or 5 years since I read vaccine info from you so thank you for that. I now am the guy that respectfully challenges my vet on a number of issues and spreads the word to my friends to not continually vaccinate. (I’m still worried in the warm months about not having him on heart worm preventative so I freak out when I see a mosquito in the house. I chase it around with tunnel vision knocking stuff over until I kill it, lol). The first round of antibiotics seemed to work because his terrible breath cleared up within two days and the puss stopped oozing out of his gum over that bad tooth as well. I was worried about that abscess / infection getting worse and causing bigger problems before they could extract the tooth. As far as the torn ACL goes, I’m happy with the outcome of the surgery and now Rush can sprint / run and jump! I’m under the impression that a knee brace is only a good option when the ACL has a PARTIAL tear. True?

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

          I think even a fully ruptured cruciate can heal, but I think a brace probably only necessary in the bigger guys who can’t carry a leg well and not use it.
          Antibiotics and work in the same sentence. Yeah, they make it seem like they do. Powerful drugs that the vital force must pay attention to, so symptom making falls off for a spell.
          Common in cats with inflamed bladders. Almost every one is sterile when cultured, but their symptoms disappear after the usual antibiotics are given. No bacteria before or after, but now symptoms subsided. Cured? Nope.

    • Tif on January 18, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Hi Paul,
      Didn’t your vet tell you about dog knee braces?
      I got one for my lab with a totally torn ccl and acl.
      The vet tried hard to sell the tplo surgery but when I read
      about others that went thru it, I decided there must be a
      safer way. We went with the holistic route and got a custom
      posh dog knee brace and the knee healed in
      a few months with no risk of infection.
      Just a heads up if the other knee tears or you have another dog
      with a torn knee. Vets want to sell the surgery and don’t like to
      mention safer holistic methods for healing without any risk of infection.

      • Kathryn on January 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm

        Hi, Tiff.
        Can you post the brand of brace you got that worked for your dog? I have an 80 lb amstaffy who is now my 3rd dog (all pitties of some sort) to have cruciate ligament issues… She had cold laser therapy for a while, but bc I was keeping her relatively still she wasn’t limping anyway. Then on a walk/slow jog one evening a year later she ended up unable to use her leg again, and now limps after cooling down from just short walks… she’s older now and having had cruciate ligament repairs that didn’t work on other dogs, I don’t want to put her through the surgery (and pay all that $) if a brace could help her just fine.
        Thanks for any reference/s you can provide!
        ~kathryn
        Austin, TX

  25. Carin on January 17, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I have found that oil of oregano is a powerful antibiotic. I learned about this from an holistic MD and purchased a bottle to have around just in case. Then I cracked a tooth and developed an infection/abscess and I immediately saturated it with the oil. 7 hours later (overnight) it was down by 75%, and completely gone by the following day. I’ve never cured an infection that fast before, although therapeutic doses of oral vitamin C/ascorbic acid works well also. Then I got a slight infection after ripping open my knee even after cleaning it well, and it was gone in no time after applying the oil. My husband just had a tooth pulled, and the dentist prescribed Amoxicillin “just in case of infection.” We never take antibiotics either because of the damage they cause to our gut flora and our immune systems in general, so he used the oil of oregano and his gums were perfect after two days. I’ve recommended it to others for different infections, and it always seems to work well. I don’t know how it will work for dental work on dogs, but I have to think it’s a much better option than the usual chemical prescription antibiotics. Do you have any experience with this? I haven’t used it on any of my animals yet, thank goodness I haven’t had a reason to, but I would be more apt to try this before a prescription antibiotic. What do you think? Oil of oregano has other health benefits also of course, it has to be a healthier option than those drugs! Would love to hear if you have any experience with this with dogs!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 6:17 am

      Hi Carin,
      Nice work! I’ve no experience with the oil, but it must be intense having it in your mouth! Wow, strong stuff.
      What I’m suggesting is much easier and less objectionable. And that’s if you really feel “infection” is to be feared. The experts don’t seem to think so here. I would agree with them for a change.

      • Carin on January 18, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        You’re right! It is pretty strong, but I’ll try anything if it means I can effectively treat something like an infection without those awful antibiotics. It really is surprising how well it works, like it is with so many remedies from nature. I will say though that it’s best if you use it in a carrier oil like organic coconut oil to mix with it, that really helps and makes it much more bearable with great results. However, it is VERY potent, so I have been careful to use it a bit sparingly, it really doesn’t take much for great results. Like with anything else, LESS is often MORE!
        Thanks for your wonderful site!

    • Dori on January 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      One note that I feel the need to address as far as oregano and oregano oil is that it has been noted in many publications that those ingredients can trigger seizures in a seizure prone human or canine even if they’ve never had a seizure before. If an animal or person does suffer from seizures, it’s an ingredient on the list of ones to avoid. I have a step- daughter that suffers from seizures and she’s been told to avoid oregano, period. I also have a dog that had a one time gran mal seizure after being exposed to oregano oil and her vet told me to avoid oregano with her in any form. Removed the oregano oil from her diet and she’s never had a seizure again.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        Wow. Thanks for that, Dori. This is one reason I’ve chosen homeopathy as my medical modality: safety in such great dilutions. Decidedly different than the herbs, which are purely physical.

    • Marty on January 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Organic oil of oregano is a powerful antioxidant with powerful antibiotic & and anti fungal properties- You have to shop very carefully for it- It has to be wild oregano! It’s very HOT- only a few drops- to purified water- It is fabulous for dog teeth health- I have used this for myself- highly recommend it!

  26. tina martin on January 17, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I have a dog that had to have her teeth cleaned after an infection (swollen jaw). She hasn’t been the same since and they will not admit that the teeth cleaning could have anything to do with her changes. She is more nervous; doesn’t want to eat or picks at her food; her tongue has turned purple and she has started having seizures. She has a broken tooth which they have said nothing to me about “fixing” it. I wish I had seen this article before this happened…at least I would not have given the antibiotics to the poor girl.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 6:13 am

      Oh my, Tina. Two questions for the vets come to mind:
      1. Did you vaccinate while she was there?
      2. Did you use ketamine in your anesthetic protocol?
      Okay, with seizures, a third, maybe for you:
      3. Has she been getting Trifexis for heartworm prevention?
      Any of these could cause seizures, ketamine more behavioral disturbances. And load her up with probiotics for months now, but I don’t think this is antibiotic related.
      Best to hire a vet homeopath if you want to get it cured. See my Resources page for the AVH list. And good luck going forward. None of this will be easy now.

  27. Mark DeShong on January 17, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Recently I was thinking of taking my 11yr old chihuahua in for a tooth cleaning he has dark stained teeth bad breath, doesn’t seem to be bothered with bad soar teeth though, im giving raw meaty beef ribs to chew on hope this is the right direction to go, im a little worried (my baby) not sure if taking him in for a tooth cleaning is warranted, I don’t want to subject him to the anesthesia if it isn’t nessary, what’s your opinion.
    Mark, WI

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 17, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Start with an exam, Mark. Info only. You don’t have to commit until you have more info. See the previous week’s post to understand more about making anesthesia safe. And the risks involved in maintaining the status quo, if that includes chronic inflammation.
      All the best. Just choose which vet services you want. Be very clear, and know that you can always say, “I’ll get back to you, but I’m not going to have this done today.”

      • Mark DeShong on January 17, 2016 at 11:04 pm

        Not to bother but, the beef ribs a good idea? Can this help to clean the teeth, enzymes I mean.
        Once a day, or once a week.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 18, 2016 at 6:08 am

          Fine place to start, though a Chi might begin with something smaller and softer: chicken wings, for example. If no pain, gung ho, move up to harder bones like ribs in a few weeks.
          Have you seen this page on bones? https://vitalanimal.com/natural-dental-prevention/
          A few days a week, once you’re sure elimination is well.

          • Mark DeShong on January 18, 2016 at 8:47 am

            Sorry forgot to mention, I’ve been feeding some beef with one of his daily meals, he is no stranger to it, it is working well going in one end and out the other, I have also been feeding beef ribs and femor slices,…
            Loves them from the start I just wanted to know if I was on the right track, yes read your articles about bones after the last post, thanks for the info keep them comming.



  28. Karen on January 17, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Most of the time I have been given antibiotics for extractions and sometimes even just cleaning. I do not believe in giving antibiotics to “prevent” an infection. Rather than argue with the vet, I either just take the drugs or tell them I have some at home. Then I will have them on hand if an infection actually happens. I carefully watch the mouth for a week or so. To date “we” have never gotten an infection from extractions or cleaning. IMO this is just a ploy to collect more money.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 17, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks Karen. Nice to hear your animals were all fine, as I expected.

      • pete oakley on March 26, 2016 at 7:33 am

        My 13 year jack Russell dog had 5 teeth removed. So I was not wanting to risk no clavamox this time. My cat had a big tooth pulled in the front. Root was rotted. I used coconut oil to heal no clavamox. Healed perfect with coconut oil. Use it for fur balls too. She loves it n doggy too.

        • pete oakley on March 26, 2016 at 7:43 am

          PDS cleanings no antibiotics n Dog stays awake no anesthesia. 150$ check web site for vets that have van come n do service mobile van. Have to get on list to register. Safer for dogs. No drugs is best.

          • Fred M on August 24, 2019 at 1:15 pm

            We also had our 11 1/2 year old’ s teeth ultrasonically cleaned at Dr. Mueller’s home office in Bellingham WA…no anaesthesia! We have him a Benadryl ahead of the procedure. $155



      • Laura Cook on February 28, 2017 at 10:57 pm

        Dr. Falconer, my Maltese had her teeth cleaned today and they of course prescribed an antibiotic (clindamycin). They didn’t even pull a tooth and said she looks great. I gave her 1 ml and immediately thought “what am i doing? She needs good gut health like me!” So I am not going to give it to her anymore.
        Question- is that one dose going to hurt her? I feel bad that i even did that. I’m so used to trusting vets but my entire philosophy has changed after reading through your page. You’re my hero!

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