(anti = against, biotic = life)
Kim Bloomer, ND
American Council of Animal Naturopathy
In healthy bodies, there is a natural balance of about 80% "good/friendly" bacteria and about 20%"bad" bacteria in a normal, healthy intestinal tract.
Antibiotics are designed and used to kill bacteria - both good and bad in your pet's intestinal tract. Note that ALL bacteria is killed, not just the "bad". A very little known fact is that once antibiotic use is stopped, it is the bad bacteria that grow back first - and faster. The result: the more antibiotics you use-the unhealthier the animal becomes.
Antibiotics depress the immune system by decreasing the number of circulating white blood cells. This in turn, lowers the animal's ability to fight infections.
It can take on average, one (1) year to build the friendly bacteria back up to a healthy level after the use of antibiotics if you are feeding a species appropriate raw diet and supplementing with probiotics (friendly bacteria). If the animal is on a poor nutritional, cooked and/or processed diet hen it will take even longer for the animal to recover and in fact may never fully recover.
Some "good/friendly" bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus work to protect the body from yeast infection and unfriendly bacteria. Some of the good bacteria actually manufacture B vitamins while others manufacture their own form of antibiotics. Some of the good bacteria also fight some tumor growth, work to lower high cholesterol levels, and even improve digestion.
Candida albicans is a normal inhabitant of the body, however, when antibiotics are used, they knockout its competitors, and Candidia is able to re-grow, multiply and spread. This in turn leads to infections, producing antigens and toxins which cause a weak immune system, neurological, and endocrinology disorders.
The overgrowth of yeast leads to autoimmune disorders, eczema, skin rashes, mange etc. To make matters worse, antibiotics can inhibit the availability of several of the B vitamins, vitamin A, folic acid, zinc, and magnesium. When antibiotics cause diarrhea (which they most often do), loss of these important vitamins becomes serious.
Diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, skin disorders, fever, elevated white blood cell count, weak immune system, vomiting, dehydration, potassium deficiencies, allergies, bad breath, eczema, yeast infections, nutritional deficiencies and constipation are just some of the many side effects and problems linked to antibiotics.
A study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that using antibiotics (or being a heavy user of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -NSAIDs) more than 10 times during childhood increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).http://www.newsinferno.com/legal-news/researchers-find-antibiotic-use-in-childhood-or-heavy-nsaid-use-may-increase-risk-of-lymphoma/
Some facts to consider about antibiotics:
* Most illness or disease begin in the intestinal tract. Thus, antibiotics create the potential for serious illness to begin.
*If the animal has ever eaten foods with preservatives it has been given 'hidden antibiotics'. The job of preservatives is to control bacteria and once the animal eats food with preservatives, it will ultimately have an effect inside the intestinal tract which will kill the friendly bacteria.
*If the animal has chronic, recurrent ear infections often receiving repeated prescriptions for ear salves containing steroids and antibiotics, these animals are never permanently cured with these drugs.
* Pets with chronic skin disease and even epilepsy always respond favorably to a simple change in diet to a Species Appropriate Raw Food (S.A.R.F.) diet, with the addition of probiotics.
*Bacterial infections, stress, traveling, antibiotic treatment, poor diet and a number of other factors can and do disturb the balance in our intestinal tract, decreasing the number of beneficial bacteria while allowing an increase in pathogenic bacteria. This increase in pathogenic bacteria can result in gas, diarrhea, constipation, and other intestinal symptoms.
How do you know if the animal has a bacterial imbalance? If it has bad breath, it has a bacterial imbalance. If it has chronic flatulence, it has a bacterial imbalance. If it has colitis or other kinds of digestive disorders, it has a bacterial imbalance. If it has diabetes, arthritis or other debilitating chronic illnesses, it has a bacterial imbalance. In fact almost all illnesses stem from a bacterial imbalance in that the body that prevents it from absorbing nutrients. Without excellent nutritional absorption, the body eventually fails.
Probiotics are a class of beneficial bacteria that promote health, balance and efficient functioning of the digestive system. These friendly bacteria are normal inhabitants of the intestines and help to digest foods by breaking them down into their individual component parts, such as fats, amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for absorption into the body. Another function of these normal bacteria is to prevent or limit the growth of unwanted bacterial pathogens including salmonella, clostridia and E-coli that can prevent proper nutrient absorption, create intestinal disturbances and eventually cause more serious illness.
Prevention of illness by a well maintained microflora balance is accomplished by a method referred to as "competitive exclusion". That is, the good bacteria take up positions known as enteric sites therefore preventing the pathogenic bacteria from establishing itself and proliferating to become a predominant bacteria.