In times of uncertainty, we humans like to stockpile and hoard. We seek information that will keep us safe and provide for our well-being. One of these topics will invariably center around medical knowledge or first-aid in case of an accident, sickness, or injury. Many of us already have a well-rounded medical kit, or basic skills in how to treat traumatic injuries. But one question I see and hear a lot of people talk about is medicine, and their lack of concrete, factual information when it comes to antibiotics – and specifically, whether it is safe to use animal antibiotics in humans.
Many other questions typically revolve around,
“Where can I find prescription-quality medicines?”
“My doctor won’t prescribe me common antibiotics for long-term disasters or bugging out.”
“What medicines should I stockpile?”
What this article will attempt to provide is the answer to these very questions, and more. While I am no fan of Big Pharma, I understand the amazing capabilities and modern need for some medicines, such as Doxycycline, Amoxicillin, and Penicillin. Thereare many natural antibiotics, and antibacterials, in nature. They surround us and like any medicine, require a bit of know-how and understanding in order to administer properly. Proper nutrition also plays a vital role in maintaining our health, but what about suffering cuts, punctures, or infections when there are no hospitals and doctors anymore?
Many people can’t convince their doctor into writing extraneous prescriptions for a, “What-if?” scenario.
So I set out to discover how to obtain and properly use modern, Big Pharma antibiotics in case of a tumultuous, long-term disaster, as I’m sure many of you foresee, as well.
The Answer Lies Within Veterinarian Drugs.
It’s not a big secret that veterinary antibiotics and drugs do not require a prescription. Drugs such as Fish-MOX clearly state on their label, “For Aquarium and Fish Use Only.” But are they truly only for fish? Are these antibiotics any different than what my pharmacist gives me?
When I started my research, all I found was information from pseudo-doctors and “scientists” from across the internet. I found page after page of conflicting information regarding the human consumption of animal antibiotics. Many people with several initials behind their name gave me a variety of answers or simply beat around the bush. One MD would say XYZ, and another doctor would tell me ABC. Some would say that they thought it would be safe to use veterinarian drugs, but only in dire times or as a last resort. Others would warn against it entirely, and yet some would encourage their use in everyday applications. And so I set out to find the Truth. I wanted concrete information on the safety and efficacy of this particular endeavor.
Let’s talk about what your other option is and get that out of the way.
You’ve likely seen the internet ads for generic versions of prescriptions from Canada or Mexico. They offer great prices and no questions asked. But like anything that seems too good to be true, they mostly are. Health regulations and quality control can be absent, to say the least. Many of these “pills” are manufactured by an unorthodox “3rd shift” at the normal plant, but have no oversight and their often-criminal motive is only black market profit. Some are simply made in a dirty kitchen or backyard shack.
While I’m well aware that the pharmaceutical industry’s main goal is profit, as well, they also have lawyers and a board of directors to answer to. I’ll leave my true, personal feelings of the “Pill Industry” out of this article and focus on how you can stockpile safe antibiotics.
The list of safety risks in using black market medicines is long, but the principal problems involve the use of prescription drugs without the proper knowledge in administration and the danger of buying drugs of unknown origin and quality. Daniel Hancz, Pharm.D., a pharmacist with the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) in Los Angeles, says, “The drugs could be old, contaminated, or counterfeit. And if you experience some kind of allergic reaction or other side effect, it’s hard to trace the problem and treat it.”
The FDA estimates that a significant amount of drugs available in Mexico may be counterfeit (Source: FDA Initiative to Combat Counterfeit Drugs). Some of these medicines can contain “filler material” in order to lower manufacturing costs, and these can range from excess wood pulp (cellulose), to baking powder, petroleum by-products, or other, potentially dangerous substances. Either way, this is not something that you want in your bug-out bag only to find out it is worthless in your time of need or creates further medical problems that you can’t treat!
So, go ahead and mark that avenue of prepping off your list. Do not buy from questionable, fly-by-night, internet-based “Doctors” with no business ratings or certifications and avoid wasting your money while on vacation in Mexico. So where does that leave us? How can we find quality medicines without a prescription for truly legitimate concerns and uses?
As I said; Veterinarian Drugs. These Do Not Require a Prescription.
Yes, that might sound more dangerous than buying pills from a Mexican street corner, but I assure you, it is not. USP-approved animal pharmaceuticals are often made in the same manufacturing plants as human pharmaceuticals and will contain the same ingredients. They are the same color, shape, and bare the same markings as human drugs. This likely boils down to cost-effectiveness for Big Pharma, but for once, is also in your interest and favor.
Allow me to explain. Every “drug” manufactured, sold, or brought into the United States must pass FDA regulations (don’t get me started on the FDA), and is listed within the United States Pharmacopeia, or USP. This is a compendium recognized officially by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that contains descriptions, uses, strengths, and standards of purity for selected drugs and for all of their forms of dosage.
Use of the USP Verified Pharmaceutical Ingredient Mark helps ingredient manufacturers assure their customers that the quality of the ingredients they are supplying has been rigorously tested and verified by an independent authority. When the mark appears on an ingredient container or carton, it represents that USP has evaluated the ingredient and found that:
1. The participant’s quality system helps to ensure that the ingredient meets its label or certificate of analysis claims for identity, strength, purity, and quality.
2. The ingredient has been prepared under accepted good manufacturing practices (GMP) that ensure consistency in the quality of ingredients from batch to batch.
3. The ingredient meets its specifications’ acceptance criteria.
So what does all of this FDA jargon mean? Overall, it translates to assuring you that if you see an animal drug that is labeled, “UPS Pharmaceutical grade Amoxicillin,” it is the exact same pharmaceutical grade Amoxicillin that your doctor would prescribe you for various infections.
As for the identification or verification process, should you still feel uneasy, we can look to the FDA (yet again, ugh).
Per the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/aprqtr/pdf/21cfr206.7.pdf), each capsule, tablet, or pill must be uniquely marked. Two tablets with identical colors, shapes, and markings cannot, by law, have different ingredients. This is for a variety of reasons, but not limited to assisting Poison Control hotlines, hospitals, doctors, etc., in determining what someone might have ingested, overdosed on, or is causing side effects.
These markings, colors, tablet shape and other identifying information can be found in medical reference texts, but now, we can use resources such as WebMD, Drugs.com, RxList.com, and many verified smartphone applications such as iPharmacy that can quickly and easily identify drugs should you need to. As a former police officer, I carried a pocket-sized guide to pill identification in my gear bag and it proved invaluable.
Still not convinced? Above is a picture of a 250mg Amoxicillin capsule. It is imprinted with ‘Westward 938.’
This is a pharmaceutical grade, USP-approved, safe-for-human antibiotic that can be verified on the pill identification site, Drugs.com. This is also the exact same pill that I received from the veterinarian supply when I ordered a bottle of 250mg Fish-Mox. That means it came from the same manufacturer, and contains the exact same ingredients as the medication I can pickup at Walgreens or CVS.
Update: Since first writing this article, I have ordered additional medications. Above is a picture of the Fish-Mox Forte (500mg Amoxicillin) received from Cal-Vet Supply. The Drugs.com Pill Identification Fact Sheetfor this capsule identifies it as Amoxicillin 500 mg.
It is a red and pink capsule, with the markings WC 731 on both sides.
Now, as I always tell my readers, don’t take my word for it and trust no one! I urge you to carefully examine markings, manufacturers, color, and every available bit of information that you can garner when dealing with medications and making a decision to take them without “physician’s approval.” My goal here is to help you discover alternatives, but the proper identification, verification, dosage, and diagnosis is ultimately up to you and your own research. I implore you to proceed with caution – we are talking about Big Pharma, here.
Where Do I Find Veterinary Drugs?
So this brings us to the question, “What sort of veterinary drugs do I need and where can I find them?”
Well, this mostly boils down to what you are comfortable with and prepared to use in whatever future, post-SHTF scenario you are prepping for. Some of the more common, everyday antibiotics have already been mentioned, such as Doxycycline, Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Penicillin, and Ciprofloxacin – commonly referred to as Cipro.
We will get into these in greater detail shortly, but this requires you to exercise caution and take your own risks. I would like to add that your doctor takes these very same risks when he prescribes you an antibiotic in which you’ve never had before. There is always a chance of side effects or allergic reaction, therefore I suggest that you stock only what you need and what you have taken before.
Personally, I’ve taken every single one of the above mentioned medications under proper “medical supervision” at some point in my life and I know that I am not allergic, therefore I stock them. I have also taken several veterinary versions of these same medications for various infections, including a severe tooth abscess. It would be wise for whoever is in charge of your medical preps to have a list of everyone’s medical allergies and any contra-indications.
There are a variety of sources for these antibiotics, but a few of them really stand out as quality, mainstream suppliers.
My first suggestion would be Cal-Vet Supply.
While I have absolutely no business affiliation or interest in them, I have used them in the past and Cal-Vet Supply would be my first choice based upon quality, ease of ordering, selection, and cost. You may find several others, but this is my go-to source.
What Do I Need?
I’ll simply provide a short list of some of the more common antibiotics, their veterinary named-counterparts, and allow you to tailor it to your specific needs or criteria.
Penicillin is an antibiotic in the penicillin group of drugs. It fights bacteria in your body.
Penicillin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections, urinary tract infections, septicemia, meningitis, intra-abdominal infection, gonorrhea, syphilis, pneumonia, respiratory infections, ear, nose and throat infections, skin and soft tissue infections.
A penicillin antibiotic. It fights bacteria in your body.
Amoxicillin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections, bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and E. coli or salmonella infection.
Ciprofloxacin, or Cipro
Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic in a group of drugs called fluoroquinolones. It is used as a potent, broad-spectrum antibiotic to fight bacteria in the body.
It may also be used to prevent or slow anthrax after exposure.
Veterinarian Equivalent: 500mg Fish Flox Forte
Cephalexin, or Keflex
Cephalexin is in a group of drugs called cephalosporin antibiotics. Keflex fights bacteria in the body.
Keflex is used to treat infections caused by bacteria, including upper respiratory infections, ear infections, skin infections, urinary tract infections, tooth and mouth infections.
Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. It fights bacteria in the body. It may be substituted in place of penicillin to treat common infections in those people who are allergic to that particular drug.
Doxycycline is used to treat many different bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, acne, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, Lyme disease or tick bite infections, anthrax infections, cholera, periodontitis (gum disease), and others.
Exercise caution with expired Doxycycline / tetracycline and -cycline medications. There has been some documentation of liver damage and some have even labeled it toxic if used past the expiration date. However, Doxycycline provides a great alternative to penicillin medications for those who are allergic.
Veterinarian Equivalent: 100mg Bird Biotic
DOSAGES AND NOTES REGARDING VETERINARY DRUGS
Joseph Alton, MD, is a medical doctor and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also a prepper, and writes:
“These antibiotics are used at specific doses for specific illnesses; the exact dosage of each and every medication is beyond the scope of this [article]. Suffice it to say that most penicillin and cephalosporin (Keflex and other cephalexin) medications are taken at 500mg dosages, 3-4 times a day for adults, and 250mg dosages for children, whereas Metronidazole (250mg) and Doxycycline (100mg) are taken twice a day.
It’s important to have as much information as possible on medications that you plan to store for times of trouble, so consider purchasing a hard copy of the latest Physician’s Desk Reference. This book comes out yearly and has just about every bit of information that exists on a particular medication, including those that do not require prescription. Indications, dosage, risks, and side effects are all listed.”
Dr. Alton ends with a great reminder regarding the state of affairs that we might one day find ourselves in:
“If we ever find ourselves without modern medical care, we will have to improvise medical strategies that we perhaps might be reluctant to consider today. Without hospitals, it will be up to the [field] medic to treat infections. That responsibility will be difficult to carry out without the weapons to fight disease, such as antibiotics.
Alternative therapies should be looked at carefully, as well. Honey and garlic have known antibacterial actions, as do a number of herbs and essential oils. Be sure to integrate all medical options, traditional andalternative, and use every tool at your disposal to keep your community healthy.”
I urge you to verify and check all medications that you order with a reputable pill identification book or website in order to make sure you truly receive what you ordered.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kevin Hayden is a former New Orleans police officer-turned-political activist. He endured Hurricane Katrina’s chaos and societal collapse in the days following and after 5 years in New Orleans, moved to Oklahoma. Kevin currently runs www.TruthisTreason.net and writes about issues pertaining to our monetary, food, and foreign policies while building an off-grid homestead and helping people become prepared. He can be contacted directly at Contact@TruthisTreason.net or via his website.
The above information should not be taken as direct medical or legal advice. Kevin Hayden is not a qualified medical practitioner nor lawyer. First published February 17th, 2012.