Damn the Casualties, We Want a Fast Fix!
There’s a new treatment to beware of. It typifies that short-sightedness of conventional medicine that brings a flame thrower to a bothersome mosquito problem.
Just as antibiotics are the most mis-prescribed and over-prescribed class of drugs in people and pets…
At least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary, according to new data published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1
… so, too, is Flagyl, aka metronidazole.
I frequently hear its use from many clients and from many who read and comment on this blog.
Flagyl’s claim to fame is “fixing” diarrhea.
And it does, sort of.
But like with all antibiotics, at a cost to your animal that you’ll want to be aware of.
World Wide Concerns
Just to give you a sense of how “on the mind” metronidazole is around the world, the term is being searched for in almost every country on the globe
Might this be due to concerns about the drug?
I’m guessing so.
Antibiotics: High Precision Killers?
I suspect you know the answer to this. Phrased another way, the important question is,
Do antibiotics only kill the “bad germs” and leave the beneficial ones alone?
Why is this such an important question?
Well, we’ve known for a number of years now that we have a huge gut population of “good guy” bacteria resident in and on us all, animals and humans.
And, we know the proper balance of the gut microbiome is critical to our health.
Just to remind you of the good that comes from our healthy gut dwellers alone, they:
- aid digestion and the extraction of energy from consumed food
- are responsible for B vitamins, vitamin K, and the production of amino acids and fatty acids
- nourish the cells they live close to, the lining cells of the gut wall
- help immunity (some say that the gut has MOST of the immune system)
- offer a barrier against pathogens invading
It turns out that diversity is greatly depressed when an animal or human is ill. Both show less species when chronic diarrhea or inflammatory bowel disease is present.2
The answer to this key question is a resounding “NO!”
Antibiotics, metronidazole included, kill indiscriminately. Good flora right along with pathogens, the “bad bugs.”
Notably, metronidazole reduced bacterial diversity indices in the present study. Decreases in microbiota of bacterial diversity have great importance in humans. The use of antibiotics often results in antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), which is due to the disruption of the GI microbial ecosystem and subsequent overgrowth of pathogenic species…3
Enter The “Faster Fix”
I received a postcard from Nestle Purina this week, touting a faster recovery from “kennel associated diarrhea” (my term for the disease studied) when metronidazole was given together with their probiotic called FortiFlora.
Digging deeper, it appears this combo saved about a day of diarrhea in these stressed dogs compared to giving metronidazole alone.
But, I’d suggest we drop the metronidazole and favor probiotics in these “stress diarrheas,” as metronidazole clearly disrupts the good gut flora.
Your Best Bet
Since we know all antibiotics cause gut problems, it’d make good sense to choose other avenues to help diarrhea animals recover.
That’s especially true if the diarrhea is a chronic (long-lasting) symptom.
What’s better than antibiotics?
Curing the “whole animal” with the help of a qualified homeopathic vet.
That’s true in all long-lasting diseases, by the way, diarrhea being only one. When we get the whole animal well, the diarrhea naturally goes away.
While your homeopathic vet is pursuing cure, probiotics make good sense to add regularly to the diet.
Although it appears Purina’s FortiFlora has some good, measurable outcomes, their first ingredient is “animal digest.”
Better than “animal” is something recognizable, which is why for a few decades now, I’ve recommended Wysong’s AddLife.
Its first ingredients:
Enzymatic Digest of Chicken and Fish, Chicken…4
I know what a chicken and a fish look like.
Animal digest? That could include euthanized dogs or horses (and yes, those have been found in commercial pet foods, right along with the pentobarbital used to put them down).
So, yes, probiotics are good for your pet. Animal digest? Not so much.
Tell us in the comments if you’ve experienced either metronidazole’s effects or probiotics’ effects in yourself or your animals.