Updated: May 17
I went to veterinary school (U Penn ’95) because of all the successes I’d seen as a herdsman at Seven Stars farm in 1988-1990. When I arrived there, I was told I had to use biologics, botanicals and homeopathic remedies instead of antibiotics and hormone shots (which I’d been using regularly on prior farms). After a stretch of 6 months not using antibiotics for commonly encountered conditions, it hit me that I wanted to learn veterinary medicine so I could mix and match treatments as each case presented once I was a vet.
A week after graduating vet school I was out on farms and, within a veterinary-client-patient relationship, I began my journey of successfully treating countless cases of common conditions such as mastitis, metritis, pink eye, pneumonia, “mysteriosis” (undiagnosed illness) and even salmonella without using antibiotics. What exactly was I using? Mainly biologics and botanicals just as my veterinary colleagues in the years prior to the advent of antibiotics. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my interest in non-antibiotic treatments found a rapid and growing interest in such therapies by USDA certified organic producers across the US and even other countries. Additionally, human medical doctors asked me to join some studies they were doing to create enriched colostrum to treat pediatric diarrhea in developing countries.
Let me state that I am 100% for the judicious use of antibiotics for therapeutic use IF truly needed. However, it is unfortunate that so many colleagues these days are in a sense “trapped” into thinking they need to reach for an antibiotic right away whenever faced with a sick animal. Not true! The first thing we should do is to enhance the immune system. This can be as simple as providing something which helps to regenerate cells at the interface of the animal’s internal biology with that of its outside environment. Biologics such as Bovi-Sera can confer immediately available antibodies to stem the tide of infection. that stimulate interferon-beta and -gamma, such as AmpliMune, are critical in stopping the progression of many diseases before antibiotics are needed. Even using autogenous milk by reinjecting the cow with its own milk can “wake up” her immune system to rally and fend off challenges. PhytoMast is another tool to help the epithelial cells ling the teat and gland cistern regenerate maintain the integrity of the teat canal against the outside world at dry-off.
No matter what cases you see as a veterinarian, consider the animal’s environment, the animal’s condition, and especially your clinical examination. In almost all cases, if the case is not too far into the disease progression, supporting and enhancing the immune system with biologics and botanicals will be a viable option for a successful outcome.