A Starting Guide to the Use of Animal Antibiotics towards Human Consumption

For the longest time this question did not need to be asked or answered. Access to live-saving drugs from Big Pharma was readily available for those who had the need and especially had the money. With the flux of what’s happening with pharmaceuticals people are now asking in lieu of not having access to doctors, or prescription drugs of any sort, other avenues are being explored.

Should a catastrophic event or set of events occur, it’s wise to be prepared and adequately equipped for eventualities to be able to best provide for our families and their health. Most pain medications, basic first aid and general self-care supplies can be purchased over the counter from drug stores. Stockpiling needed drugs, for the family’s chronic or existing conditions, however the procuring of prescription medications for a longer period of time including antibiotics is not such a cut-and-dried situation.

There are companies out there that can help you with doing the epilepsy, or the cancer, or the anti-psychotic drugs that are essential. Google it and you will find them.

Specifically for Antibiotics

What is found in the article below is not intended to be construed as anything except as educational and is only for research purposes. Any specific and individual questions of any medical level needs to be with your own medical professional. 

The different compounds in antibiotics treat specific bacterial infections regardless of the species infected, i.e. be it human, canine, bovine or fowl. The reason doctors and veterinarians use different antibiotics in different species are because some of these medications cause adverse side effects or even toxicity in some species due to interference with various organs as well as the bacteria causing the primary illness. Equally, some antibiotics work well in a range of species though the dose may be different. Doctors are paid the big bucks to know the difference on the myriad of antibiotic family strains we mention below.

The developing world, on the other hand do have a problem of access to certain antibiotics and have had human patients treated often with veterinary medications for a variety of reasons including expense and availability of human pharmaceuticals. In America is illegal practice for anyone, veterinarian or otherwise to knowingly dispense any behind the counter classified medication, animal or otherwise, for human consumption. One of the primary reasons for this law is the potential for abuse of pain medications and anesthetics, particularly narcotics is simply too great to permit such practice. Thus we have the doctor’s prescription system to help curb that as it may.

People actually using veterinary medications however, is not uncommon, particularly among those who work with animals. Many companion animal medications are generic equivalents of human drugs; however, your veterinarian is not legally permitted to dispense these for your consumption, not even for an emergency situation. Another reason for these regulations is manufacturing hygiene. The United States Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require the same stringent guidelines regarding production hygiene for livestock antibiotics or feed additive medications as for human medicines. Impurities that could pose a health concern for humans but not for their intended animal consumers may be present in these compounds.

Using Veterinary Antibiotics

Again this is not advice or recommendations, only for educational purposes:

A. Before considering sourcing an emergency supply of antibiotics, thorough research is essential. This article serves as a guide to help readers make informed decisions about healthcare in a post-apocalyptic scenario, prioritizing safety and well-being.

B. Ensure that the active ingredient in the medication is the actual antibiotic, irrespective of the brand name. This step is crucial for accurate dosage and effective treatment. You need to make the source of the synthesized medication is clear as possible.

C. Compile a dosage chart for all stocked medications, including antibiotics and other prescription drugs. Pay close attention to the concentration of the active ingredient and opt for products with minimal fillers.

D. Be cautious when sourcing medication, especially from internet pharmacy companies. Look for the USP Verified Pharmaceutical Ingredient Marks on medications, ensuring their authenticity and quality. These are special coding used to identify the medication, e.g. USP Pharmaceutical Grade Tetracycline on a tablet means that the concentration of the active antibiotic (tetracycline) is verified by the FDA. IF you are using Antibiotics designated for animal use you may not be able to locate that, however.

E. While the information in this article may guide in emergencies, self-medication with prescription antibiotics without a physician’s input is ill-advised in regular circumstances. Following a doctor’s directions minimizes the risk of developing resistance in bacteria.

Classes of Antibiotics

Another concern about self-medication is the diagnosis and subsequent treatment. You may not have the correct diagnosis; thus, you may not select the correct antibiotic or dosage. Using the incorrect medication or dose could put yours or another person’s health or life at risk. With those caveats and warnings. When you are in a situation that an infection is raging through your or your family members body, and there isn’t a chance for your medical professional to answer the call, because of the current cataclysmic event… Here’s some information that is good to know.


There are a number of penicillin variants including amoxicillin, methicillin and flucloxacillin; also, combinations such as amoxicillin/clavulanate and ampicillin/sulbactam are also available. Penicillin was introduced in the 1940s and is used to treat a wide range of common ear/nose/throat, skin and respiratory infections including strep throat, Salmonella infections and pneumonia. Some people are deathly allergic to penicillin based antibiotics and can have anaphylactic reactions so use with caution.

This is the one set of variants that you usually get right out of the gate, especially if you are not allergic to the original Penicillin. Doctors progress into the others if this set is ineffectual for the bacteria or infection.


This group includes amikacin, gentamicin, neomycin and streptomycin. These antibiotics are useful in treating infections caused by Escherichia coliKlebsiella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and tularemia. These antibiotics are effective to treat severe bone and soft tissue infections. Usually used in combination with other antibiotics, monitoring the blood levels for toxicity is vital. These are not effective when taken by mouth, but injectable IV and topical forms of these drugs are useful, including treating gonorrhea and tuberculosis. Clearly a “booster” for the wanted results, the side effects including hearing and kidney damage can happen if used in excess.


These antibiotics are good alternatives for people allergic to penicillins and cephalosporins.

Antibiotics in this class include azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin and spiramycin. These are useful to treat respiratory infections such as whooping cough, Lyme disease, mouth infections and syphilis. Side effects include gastrointestinal upsets, liver problems and sight problems.


Possibly the best known member of this class is silver sulfadiazine which is topically used for burns and skin irritations. Others members include trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and sulfadimethoxine and are used to treat urinary tract and eye infections. Side effects include kidney problems, nausea and sunlight sensitivity, symptoms of allergies to these include skin rashes.


Do not use these antibiotics as a first choice for any infection! Use with caution in children!

Ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin and ofloxacin are some of the antibiotics in this class and are used to treat urinary tract infections, pneumonia and gonorrhea. A number of these drugs have been withdrawn from the market due to toxicities and microbial resistance is on the increase. Side effects are uncommon but can be severe including seizures, weakness, nausea and tendon damage even with short term use.


Do not use these antibiotics as a first choice for any infection!

There are five generations of this class of antibiotic available, earlier generations have good action against streptococcal and staphylococcal infections while the newest generation treats multidrug resistant bacteria including pseudomonal infections. Adverse responses include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset including nausea and diarrhea. These antibiotics can be used to treat gonorrhea, severe skin or middle ear infections and genito-urinary tract infections.

For Additional Research:

The American Academy of Family Physicians‘ website is a good resource for educating yourself on health matters including quality cost-effective health care. This website includes information on interactions between medications, side effects and appropriate dosing.

You can also access a clinical guide with information about commonly available antibiotics and dosing information for both adults and children. It is crucial that you make sure as humanly possible that the quality, authenticity and the USP Verified Pharmaceutical Ingredient Marks are present if at all. Incorrect diagnosis, usage or dosage can pose health risks

Being prepared for emergencies in the less than ideal circumstance as an across the board collapse of society, still requires a careful balance of information and responsible decision-making. While the article provides education on the use of antibiotics in crisis situations, it strongly emphasizes the importance of professional medical advice for optimal health outcomes.

The best advice I can give you for preparing for a SHTF situation is to be scrupulous with your research and selecting your sources for antibiotics. Choose only reputable or peer reviewed sources for your information and be careful when selecting veterinary medications for your cupboard and always keep medications well away from children. Regularly check your medication inventory and if anything is past its expiration date discard in a safe manner and replace with a new version.