Are You Helping Create Superbugs?

Fear the Darkness

It was a dark, moonless night. The jungle sounds were eerily foreign to me, and the hair was standing up on the back of my neck. Was that a roar in the distance? Something above me, moving in the trees? The child clings to me, helplessly dependent on me to get her out of here alive.

Luckily, I'm packing this bazooka. Beware, creatures of darkness, my finger is on the trigger, and the safety is off this bad boy.

How much of your medical world view is shaped by fear of the unknown? Germs lurk in the murky darkness beneath view. Threats loom at each doorknob, touched before by an unseen hand, at each tree along your path, visited by an unknown set of paws. You read about “superbugs” and dread landing in the hospital for even a minor injury, because they live there.

I submit that actions taken in fear will come back to bite you.

A breeder writes,

"The pup… was put on antibiotics the day he was born because of a laceration he sustained on his leg when his mom accidentally stepped on him… Everything healed well, and after several weeks he was off of the antibiotics…he seemed to be doing great, passed his puppy exam at 8 weeks with no problems. I gave him a distemper/parvo combo vax at 9 weeks, just before he left to go with his new family. About a week and 1/2 after he left, he came down with meningitis…” (emphasis mine)

Wow. Meningitis?? Infection or inflammation in the brain and/or spinal cord?

What’s wrong with this picture? Could there have been a more Natural Path taken to prevent this disaster in the first place? Perhaps that bazooka of weeks of antibiotics was overkill for a laceration.

Antibiotic Resistance: Superbugs Bite Mankind

If any class of drugs is overused and thoughtlessly prescribed in modern medicine, it’s the antibiotics. Hardly a day goes by in practice when I don’t hear a history of misuse of these drugs.

“He had a high white count, so Dr. WhiteCoat gave him antibiotics.”

“Her liver enzymes were elevated. She’s on antibiotics and Denamarin.”

“Sugar was furiously licking her foot. It got red and irritated. When Dr. WhiteCoat cultured her foot, he found bacteria and wanted to give her antibiotics.”

I’m convinced that, if I could take antibiotics away from Dr. WhiteCoat’s pharmacy, his practice would fold. Well, okay, steroids and antibiotics -- that’d shut down most every conventional veterinary practice in existence.

As a result of overprescribing this class of drugs for a couple of generations now, antibiotic resistant superbugs are on the loose.

Fear begetting fear.

Fighting Little Foes With Big Guns; Innocent Bystanders Killed

Why would a laceration in a newborn pup need antibiotics? Would that pup have been a goner without them? How did anyone, man or beast, survive prior to antibiotics? Is the current crisis of superbugs we’re helpless to combat related to the misuse of these drugs?

Clearly it is, as my first link indicates.

The latest understanding is that our bacterial flora outnumber our own cells by ten fold. They live on our skin, in our noses, mouths, and especially in our guts. A big walloping dose come from nursing mom, when we and other mammals are born.

And these bacteria are good for us, when they are in balance. They are a significant part of the immune system, they aid in the utilization of food we eat, and they prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

Antibiotics indiscriminately kill these beneficials right along with the purported evil germs we might fear. That may not even be there in the first place.

Innate Healing vs Superbug Production

Have you forgotten how many boo-boos you got over as a child? Scraped knees, finger cuts, overly scratched mosquito bites that bled? Hopefully, you just washed these and put on a bandage perhaps, and went right back out to play. That’s what I did, though mercurochrome was pretty popular (ouch!) in my baby boomer growing up years as a topical germ killer.

Given half a chance, wounds heal. There’s an innate intelligence at work in all of us that is responsible. It’s that same intelligence that keeps us healthy amid a sea of bacteria within and without us.

A Natural Path Alternative

If a wound befalls your pup, your cat, your child or you, what might you use to aid healing without risking wiping out the good bacteria who do so much good?

Acute Homeopathics to the Rescue

While oral arnica is a good first choice for any injury, ledum is a remedy well known for aiding lacerations to heal. It comes in a tube of pellets and is given orally. You’ll see it in any good homeopathic remedy kit (like the custom one I’m developing for you, but that’s coming in October. Sign up for Vital Animal News to be alerted first). Any stores that sell homeopathic remedies will include ledum.

A pellet given initially 2-3 times a day when a wound has just been discovered will both hasten healing and even prevent tetanus. As the wound closes, you’d give it less often, maybe once a day and stop when you see closure.

Is that pup going to be licking that wound? You bet! Mom might, too, and there’s evidence this promotes healing.

If you want to do something topically, reach for calendula ointment or make your own calendula lotion from the tincture and some homemade saline.

Calendula, the common marigold, has been speeding wound healing in both topical use and in homeopathic pellets taken orally for well over a hundred years.

Here’s how to make you own calendula lotion for wound treatment, from Dorothy Shepherd’s, Homeopathy for the First Aider:

  • One pint of water
  • One ½ teaspoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of calendula tincture

Mix the above when you see a wound that needs help, and dribble it on from a spoon or flush the wound a few times a day from a syringe. This was used with great success in the American Civil War for wound healing. Shepherd describes one surgeon from a large hospital, a Mr. Carleton, who

“used Calendula for all his operation cases, both for abdominal and bone surgery and published his results in a book, giving ample evidence for the efficacy of Calendula in surgery.”

Finding Your Way Out of Darkness

Sure, it's dark out, and your animal needs you to protect her from disease. No small job, but my hope is you'll walk a better, more natural path than that offered by the antibiotic pushers today.

Don't let your fear create more superbugs that will rightfully deserve to be feared.

I know many of you like colloidal silver for topical and even oral use. Another way to avoid the big guns and favor healing.

Even better: give your dog's immune system a super boost (better than anything it's been measured against to date)!

What have you found to help wounds heal that allow you to avoid the production of superbugs? Tell us below in the comments.

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  1. Linda Pennykid on September 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great simple advice on ear wax, will also try it on myself as an old ear infection is flaring up!
    Read a book recently by Juliette de Bairclairy,was renowned Herbalist and her advice was to fast a sick animal and feed on honey and garlic.

  2. gayle on September 6, 2013 at 2:09 am

    I have used garlic oil capsules successfully on wounds pierce capsule and squeeze oil into the wound.

  3. Elle on September 4, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I wanted to add one more comment, which I’ve been thinking about since I read your piece on antibiotics, Dr. Falconer. No one ever questions this conventional pharmaceutical product’s name. Antibiotic.
    The dictionary defines anti as meaning “against” or “opposite of”.
    Biotic is defined as “pertaining to life”
    I take that as meaning “against life”.
    What an eye-opener!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Indeed. How can something “against life” be good, and particularly focused just against the “bad guy’s life?” Using them is life using napalm to kill a fly in your house. Oops: collateral damage, worse than the fly!

      • Elle on September 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

        Your reply brings up another thought for me, Dr. Falconer. Our bodies are a balanced system and we stay healthy when we can keep our bodies as balanced as possible. Of course, nothing is balanced all the time, as for instance, the process of flying a plane on auto-pilot. The plane is on course part of the time, but the rest of the time, it’s going off course, catching itself and then correcting itself. I believe this might be the way the body functions.
        Of course, there are more than numerous variables involved, but in an effort to keep this brief, I’d like your thoughts on these “bad guys”. Do you think we need them to stay balanced? In other words, perhaps they have roles that we’ve yet to determine in keeping the “good guys” in balance.
        If we took out all the “bad guys”, would our bodies really be healthy? It seems that we need both positive and negative polarities for balance.
        Maybe we need both the good and bad guys without letting either overrun the other for any length of time. And it would follow, if that were true, that our animals’ bodies would function in the same way.
        Your thoughts?

        • Will Falconer, DVM on September 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

          Balance is the key. When the vital force and therefore the body is in balance, bacteria or yeasts or viruses or parasites have no place to overgrow.
          The common mistake in allopathic medicine is culturing and finding bacteria, and thinking they are the cause, not the result. I blogged about this here, if you want to review:
          So, “bad guys” is relative. Can you have a pseudomonas bacteria or a candida yeast living in your body and still be healthy? Absolutely. And when your dog is sick, and has an ear full of gunk that stinks and may include pus, is it the “bad guy” bacteria who are to blame? No, clearly not.
          And, the ancillary damage done by blasting with antibiotics is what I was getting at in this post. A very near sighted view of health and disease is at the heart of this practice of antibiotics for all things.
          Balance is further lost with this bazooka approach, and the animal suffers long term as a result. Yeast overgrowth is rampant in pets now, and that’s just one side effect.

  4. Tricia Wells on September 3, 2013 at 11:13 am

    These kits are wonderful. I highly recommend them for pets and people. I have one from a couple years ago – and have since moved 5 times. With a bar of soap, some calendula cream and Dr. Falconer on speed dial, I have felt my dogs are protected no matter where we go. Its a great feeling.
    We’ve solved everything from yeasty ears, scorpion stings, loose stool and even a bout of “he’s acting really weird”! Imagine taking that one to Dr. Whitecoat to solve… HA!

  5. Darci on September 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I too use Homeopathic remedies, colloidal silver, aloe vera, calendula, witch hazel (I’m looking forward to making my own) I’m curious about your Homeo kit!

  6. Esther on September 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I have been using Willard Water for a number of years. I use the dark Willard Water Ultimate Concentrate from CAW Industries,Inc . I have been drinking this water for at least 10 years now. Spraying on the skin I
    t really works with inflammation, I have not have that many lacerations, but I guess it would work too. We have also used Calendula ointment and Calendula with Hypericum for cuts and scrapes. Epson salts is very good too. I will add colloidal silver to my medical remedies.
    Thank you very much for the formula for ear wax, I have the two ingredients at home, but I did not know it would be good for ears wax. For my dogs regular cleansing I have been using Halo, Cloud Nine Herbal Ear Wash. This is an all herbal oils and extracts.
    I am very curious to know what would be in your ER homeopathic kit.
    Thanks again for such useful information.

  7. CJ on September 2, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I use Epsom salts in very warm water for lots of lacerations, bruises, swellings after the initial cooling…..hardly ever see a vet for injuries, nor my own doc, either!

  8. Maria on September 2, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Buy no means do I intend to give advice because I am not a veterinarian but a lot of things are just plain common sense, that common sense that we have lost throughout the years.
    A year ago my little Chihuahua started limping. After some research I came across “luxating patella” which is common in small breed dogs. When I examined her closer I found the her knee cap was moving out of place whenever I moved her leg back and forth.
    When I took her to the vet, they suggested pain killers, surgery or exercise to strengthen her legs. The thing is , my dog was not in pain, she was still running like a gazelle when she went out for a walk or “run” I should say, so I opted for the exercise.
    Nature is very wise and animals are very smart. If I had given her painkillers she would not have known that her knee cap was moving out place, therefore she could have aggravated her situation. Instead, I made her loose a bit weight to take same strain off her legs, started the exercise routine and gave her some rutagravens a homeopathic remedy for joints and muscles.
    Today she is still running like a gazelle, her limping has disappeared and I am a glad that I opted for the most natural alternative.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 2, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Bravo, Maria!
      Common sense, less common than it once was, would indeed indicate animals are ready to heal themselves, if we can just support that effort.
      You’ve demonstrated that admirably!

  9. Janet Pauly-Bray on September 2, 2013 at 7:11 am

    I am really excited to read that you are developing a homeopathic remedy kit! For those of us who live in more rural areas and do not have these remedies readily available to us, having a kit of the more common ones will really be a help. Now if you could just create a whole bunch of compassionate, knowledgeable homeopathic vets to locate across the county, we would be “over the moon!” (There is exactly one in our state.) Your blog, newsletter, and e-books go a long way to help, and I want you to know how very much I appreciate you and your fierce advocacy for our cherished pets.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

      Hi Janet,
      Yes, having a kit at home is a great resource. I love to see my clients have one for emergencies, because it can 90% keep you and your pets out of the ER.
      Until we homeopathic vets figure out how to clone ourselves, don’t be afraid to work long distance, by telephone. At the AVH link on my Resources page, you’ll be able to see what percentage of a vet’s practice is homeopathic, whether they are certified or not, and whether they offer phone consultations. The key that allows this to work is you knowing your animal very well, and, with a bit of coaching from your homeopath, you can describe your animal’s symptoms in a way to allow a proper prescription to be made.
      It’s definitely possible to have your homeopathic vet be your “primary physician” and use the services of a local conventional vet on occasion for surgery, lab work, radiographs etc. That’s how most of my clients work with me.
      All the best, and thanks for stopping by the comments.

  10. Erica Christopher on September 1, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I just read about Willard Water in the latest issue of The Whole Dog Journal two days ago and just saw it in Elle’s comment above! What synchronicity! The article mentioned multiple uses: given orally in drinking water, topically on irritated/damaged skin, as an ear cleanser, and as an after shampoo rinse. I think I may pick up a bottle and try it out. Thanks for posting Elle!

    • Elle on September 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

      You’re welcome, Erica. Here’s a 60 Minutes episode featuring Willard Water from around 1980. It’s 14 minutes long and has always impressed me because 60 Minutes usually debunks products like this…and they tried, to no avail. Check it out. It’s well worth it to see how locals use the Water. And note the spectacular effects of this Water on one man’s intensely burned thigh (hope you’re okay with me posting this link, Dr. Falconer).

  11. Elle on September 1, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    We use Colloidal Silver on open wounds to prevent infection. We have also used it orally for chickens with Mareks, which conventional vets say there’s no cure for. Hah! We’ve had three of these chickens over the years and each returned to perfect health with silver.
    We use Dr Willard s Water for skin regeneration (one of our chickens had her back ripped open by an owl. First we put on silver and then used Willard Water for about a month several times a day. She recovered perfectly.
    We use Transfer Factor to boost our animals’ immune systems when they need it.
    We also use homeopathics as recommended by Dr Falconer.
    That’s about it for our medical arsenal.
    Great article on ear wax. Thanks for this helpful information. I really look forward to your blog every week.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Thanks, Elle. Glad to have you as a regular reader, and the fact that I rarely need to help you as a doctor these days reaffirms how much can be done to keep animals healthy at home.
      Keep up the good work!