The growing problem of resistance
“We have had a honeymoon period since the invention of antibiotics and anthelmintics. As with all honeymoons, it is coming to an end. We need to think differently in the future than how we’ve been thinking. Holistically for our bodies and the planet.”
Holistic vet, Dr Nick Thompson MRCVS explores the history of pharmaceuticals and the problem of resistance.
A century ago, all vets were making up herbal pills and unction's for their patients. This practice died out as pharmaceuticals took over; not because they were better necessarily, but because they were easily manufactured, controlled and immediate effects were easy to measure. Pharmaceuticals, however, did not give us all the health answers. Within thirteen years of the invention of Fleming’s Penicillin in 1928, the first strain of resistance had been identified. Every few years since then, a new antibiotic has been discovered and within a decade or two resistance struck. Always.
A warning from the World Health Organisation
With every new antibiotic since antibiotic resistance is inevitable. We know this from almost 90 years of experience with antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance has been described by the World Health Organisation, WHO, as the single greatest challenge in infectious diseases today. It’s the same story for anthelmintic resistance, only better known.
The problem with antibiotics is that when they are used, you don't kill all of the offending bacteria. You’re left with the few resistant to the medicines you use. Anthelmintics are generally a single molecule which attacks a single weakness in the worm. If the worm happens to have a mutation where they haven’t got that weakness, they are then resistant to that anthelmintic. These tiny few resistant worms do two things. They remain, and they flourish overtime to pass on their genes.
Herbs: Naturally effective
I’ve been looking, for the last decade or so, at the use of herbs with anthelmintic properties. The average herb has within it between 400 - 600 active molecules. It acts in hundreds of ways. Resistance is impossible as the complexity of the herb's chemistry makes it impossible to outmanoeuvre. It seems ludicrous that we've side-stepped nature and ignored thousands of year’s worth of experience and what’s worked.
It’s a case of wanting something in a box over something growing naturally in the wild. We have to look at the alternatives. With the climate crisis at the moment, we are similarly in crisis with pharamaceuticals. They’re running in parallel, a crisis externally and a crisis within - all seems to be pointing back to a natural order and a balance.
Interested to learn more?
Why we need to rethink our approach to fleas, ticks and worms - read the article.
Why are we ignoring gut worm resistance to drugs? A must-watch video by Dr Nick Thompson.
Taking care of animal health, naturally. Browse the range.