Pet Corner: 7 Herbal Antibiotics for Pets

Try these herbal antibiotics for pets to keep your furry friends healthy.

| July/August 2002

Before I retired from my holistic veterinary practice, I relied almost exclusively on herbal antibiotics for pets. There are several reasons for this, and I think it is more important to understand these reasons than to try to learn each and every herb that has ever been used for its antibiotic properties. (There are literally dozens of them.) The litany of reasons not to use synthetic antibiotics has filled whole books, but for this article, I’ll just list a few of the major ones.

Synthetic antibiotics kill off health-enhancing bugs as well as those that cause disease. A pet’s body is a complex organism that, in a healthy condition, provides a balanced environment for billions upon billions of microorganisms, most of which play an important role in the pet’s overall health. Synthetic antibiotics are as unselective as a shotgun blast; they kill the good-guy bugs as well as the ones that cause disease.

In the few short decades that synthetic antibiotics have been on the market, dozens of pathogens have developed resistance to one or more of them, and the number of resistant strains is rising exponentially. In fact, experts acknowledge that there’s no way technology can keep up with the bacteria’s ability to mutate and develop resistance. What this means is that the more antibiotics you use today, the more you run the risk that your vet will not be able to treat your pet’s future infectious diseases with any antibiotic.

Antibiotics eliminated from the body during treatment have become a huge environmental problem, and as more and more antibiotics contaminate our water and food supplies, even more resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria are created.

Natural Pet Health: Herbal Antibiotics for Pets

Because there are dozens of herbs that have proven antibiotic activity (either germ-killing or germ-inhibiting), I try to select an herb for its other properties as well as its antibiotic value. If I can find an herb that helps ailing organ systems as well as having antibiotic properties, then the patient is doubly rewarded. Some examples of these herbs follow.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). One of many herbs containing the biochemical berberine—in addition to being immunostimulatory, it has antibiotic activity against many bacteria and fungi. Goldenseal is especially good for use in any inflammatory condition involving the mucus membranes, and it’s also good for gastrointestinal and liver problems. Wild goldenseal has been harvested to the brink of extinction; be certain the product you use has been organically grown—or a good substitute herb is Oregon grape root (Mahonia aquifolium).

11/21/2017 8:55:16 AM

Hi Dr.Kidd, I have a 6 year old cat ,Simba who has very slight swelling on the left side of his face. The eye on that side has a discharge but it isn't green or yellow. Eye is not pink or cloudy,looks normal. The discharge is about pea size and dark brown or black. I have been using a lukewarm washcloth to gently keep it clean. This morning is when I noticed the swelling on the left side of his face. I gently touched his face and he did not react as if there was any pain at all.He is eating normally. But he is my best friend,my sweet little buddy and I am concerned. It almost looks like the beginning of swelling of the cheek in a person who was beginning to get an abscessed tooth. 😢Yet as I said he appears go be in no pain and eating fine. I have fallen on tough financial times but would move Heaven and Earth to make sure he is okay. Would any of these herbs like the Goldenseal be beneficial to help him. I am no vet. And as much as he loves me too,he has never been a lap cat and is just not wanting me to look inside his mouth. He is a stubborn feline. Can you suggest the best herbs and dosage to help him? Sincerely,Julie O'Connor.

11/1/2014 4:06:03 PM

I have a 14 1/2 year old chow mix that for the past 3-4 months has had thick blood tinged discharge from one side of his nose. It improved for a short time after 1 week of antibiotics from the vet... but now is back. He gets stomach distress when he takes the antibiotics even with giving him yogurt... I was wondering what you would suggest. I do realize that this is quite possibly a cancer, he has very bad teeth and it could be an abscess as well, and he is too old to go through any type of surgery or chemo treatments and has to be sedated to even allow the vet to get close enough to touch him.I would like to treat it as if it were an infection first because we did have some success with the antibiotics. I would appreciate any advice you might have. Thank You Brenda Jones

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