Are Fish Antibiotics Headed Towards Prescription-Only?

Stories have been circulating lately regarding new regulations for some veterinarian medications which have been previously ‘over the counter’. The various reports that I’ve read go so far as to suggest that even ‘fish meds’ may require a prescription in the future (hint: ‘fish’ antibiotics).

One wonders if it’s rumor, truth, or somewhere in-between.

The apparent deadline is the first of the year (2017) when the new regulations go into effect…

Over on Rawles’ site, a recent letter from an animal vet reads as follows,

Dear Jim:
Many preppers store antibiotics for fish or livestock water/feed medications over the counter (OTC). As of January 1st, 2017 this will come to an end as livestock producers will be required to get a VFD (veterinary feed directive) from a veterinarian to obtain these antibiotics. I don’t want to go into the specific differences but think of it as a prescription.

For anyone wanting antibiotics I would recommend getting some before the first of the year.

I am a mixed animal vet in the Ozarks. – E.E.

JWR Adds: A full list of drugs transitioning on January 1st from OTC to VFD status can bee seen in this FDA PDF. As news about this upcoming law change spreads, we can surely expect to see shortages at farm and ranch stores, and from mailorder vendors. Stock up. Several of our advertisers sell veterinary antibiotics at competitive prices. Please give them your patronage, and mention SurvivalBlog, when you do.

In a previous article, ‘Fish Antibiotics For Preparedness’, a quote from a doctor (who is into preparedness) reads,

When the bottles arrived, I dug out my photographic drug reference and found that these are indeed the same pills that are given to humans, right down to the tablet color and markings.

It makes business sense. It costs less for drug manufacturers to have one production line for each drug, rather than to build a separate process exclusively for veterinary medicines.

These are the same generic antibiotics that can be found on many pharmacy formularies.

The fact is that most ‘preppers’ know that these ‘fish antibiotics’ are apparently the same antibiotics that a doctor would prescribe. And some have stocked up on the common antibiotics for SHTF emergency situations.

While I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice, it may seem prudent to have a supply of antibiotics on hand to be available for ‘just in case’.

Note: Do understand and do your due-diligence to discover the facts about antibiotics and their usage. Over-usage will cause resistance to antibiotics and there are also many circumstances whereby antibiotics are not the answer to treat one’s illness.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

While I am personally not sure if ‘Fish Antibiotics’ are going to require a prescription beginning Jan-1-2017, I can tell you that I will stock up with a few basics before then, just in case ;)

Note: If you are a veterinarian, know one, or have further insight as to this report, let us know what you know or what you have heard…


  1. Thats really something i havent stored, i honestly havent taken any antibiotics in years, i wonder what the lifespan is of those meds?

  2. As one who gets bronchitis about every four or five years I researched the appropriate antibiotic to treat this ailment and now store a few bottles. Cheap insurance considering its your health. I have since expanded to include most of the varieties of antibiotics.

    1. I used to get bronchitis every winter. I am also prone to sinus infections. If you are interested, there is an alternative to antibiotics.

      Place equal parts of chopped garlic, horseradish, and ginger in a saucepan. Cover with honey. Add equal amount of water as honey. Simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool. Eat 1 tablespoon every three hours during the day until sinus infection/bronchitis is gone.

      If you are having spasmodic coughing, make a tea with 1/4 oz mullein, 1/4 oz lungwort, 1/2 oz wild cherry bark and 1 quart of water. Drink a half cup (4 oz) three times a day. Drink this in addition to the syrup from above. You will still cough, and expectorate phlegm, but it will be productive and not spasmodic.

      You can let a mason jar of the syrup in the fridge. I have never had it go bad. The tea needs to be made fresh every couple of days.

      1. Wonderful tips and recipes Skibum…

        I too had bronchitis for the first time in 8 years…
        both times I was able to treat naturally…

        This past time I made raw veggie juice about 16 oz. which I drank through out the day: carrots, celery, radish, garlic
        (I was craving radish…only happened when I had bronchitis, they are very good for bronchitis, asthma, etc… they are anti-congestive, I did not know that until I looked it up!)

        Also fresh (or from frozen) organic homemade broth.
        Also with fresh minced up garlic.
        I sipped about 3-4 cups a day.

        The broth alternating with the raw veg juice and plenty of rest
        got me over the bronchitis.

        Thanks again Skibum, best to you!

        1. Also organic or peppermint tea is good for respiratory health. :)

      2. @Skibum

        Thanks so much for this info. I’ve been fighting a nasty sinus infection for a long time. The doc won’t give me antibiotics because people tend to overuse them. I’m definitely going to try this.

        Thanks again.


        1. Oil of Oregano is decongestant, and anti bacterial, and oil of cloves are also anti bacterial. Something hit me like a freight train tuesday eve, I ate large amount of garlic,honey and cayenne,but it still got worse… and wed morning got up unable to speak..Sinus’ drained into lungs, sore throat, swelled glands, ear involvment…so herbals are in progress and being used concurrently with other meds.Don’t forget the ecchinasea, zinc, vitamin A in combo to jump immune response,and Vitamin D(I use 10 thousand when sick),and Vitamin C.
          Usnea and Pippsisswea are also good for respiratory and urinary irritations of all descriptions. Pippsisswea also is mildly diuretic for those with CHF.

      3. @ kk and shepherdess

        I am a huge believer in natural remedies that work with the body’s own healing systems. It is also really important to know when to consult with a doctor. The recipes above are tried and true. I swear by them, as did my aunt (who taught me about natural remedies) and my grandmother (who taught my aunt).

        I also think that knowledge of natural remedies, how to grow and wildcraft them, how to prepare them, etc., is an important part of prepping 401.

      4. The garlic / horseradish / ginger absolutely works. Used it the last time I got bronchitis and it was the only way I survived it. I do think anyone who can should make the investment in learning about alternative methods of healing and staying healthy.

  3. I posted this a few months ago when I read about the water soluble antibiotics being banned by the FDA from over the counter use. I have since got Doxycycline antibiotics that lasts a long time and covers many bacterial infections. I have used it for me and my dogs when the meds were 20 years old. They just lose potency but I kept mine in a fridge that may have extended their life, away from heat and sunlight. The ‘cillins seemed to expire in a few years or less and can do harm after their exp. date and I discovered I became allergic to them when I wasn’t before…That happens a lot.

    1. Doxycycline is a form of tetracycline and as someone who has used “fishy” antibiotics for years, I did my research. Before they banned tetracycline, I had a sick cat and the tetracycline I had on hand was several years old. I would be careful using really old tetracycline, I’ve read that it can be hard on the kidneys. I’ve read of no such precautions with amoxicillin and some of the other antibiotics, just tetracycline and other drugs in the tetracycline family. I switched to doxycycline for certain illnesses because amoxicillin isn’t effective on some of the bugs my pets get, but the stuff I had on hand was old, so just to be safe I bought a new bottle.

  4. They tested some antibiotics that were old dates stored in the Army medic supply. It turns out they were still great after a lot of years. The only one not to store is Tetracycline. It becomes poisonous after a couple of years. Get antibiotics now, it is better safe than sorry. The way the government works is to use the first ban and then expand on it.

    Get the book PDR Physician’s Desk Reference For Prescription Drugs. It tells which antibiotics work best for which illness. Also tell the dosage, how long, and any side effects. Get the paperback version, it is cheaper.

  5. I could not access to by clicking on the site from this post, so I used Amazon to make my purchase. Just in case anyone else has the same issue.

  6. I watched a Patriot Nurse video yesterday and she said the regulation only applies to ‘food producing’ our fish antibiotics are safe.

    1. Yeah, I saw that one also. A couple other sources said much the same thing so I’m reasonably sure fish meds are safe for now. I still want to get some just to have though. Ugh. So many things to get on a limited budget.

  7. Coming from Canada I have not found a Canadian site to order from. Can anyone send me in the right direction. I tried to order from an American site & the freight came to way more than the pills. My question is how much does it cost to ship a couple bottle…I mean really? Then to make matters worse our dollar is worth less than 75 cents on your dollar so that is a big up charge also.

    1. @canadagal

      There are no Canadian companies selling antibiotics direct to the public. It isn’t worth ordering from across the border. The exchange rate will kill you. After you pay for shipping, Canada Customs wants their share. I usually figure on 25% of the total and then you have to pay HST on the total amount. Don’t forget that the credit card company charges you for converting your Canadian dollars into American currency.

      BTW, sometimes Customs confiscates your purchase and then you’re just out of pocket for the value of the pills and shipping. Usually, in the small print, the seller indicates that they aren’t responsible if Customs grabs your order.

      There are only 2 ways to get those pills. If you have an American friend willing to purchase them, then drive to pick them up.

      The other method would be to get a sell-off trip to Mexico, buy them directly from a pharmacy there and bring them home.

      Been tempted to ask our vet about getting some but first I need to start up a conversation about the meds. Something like “wow, I heard that some people actually take animal meds when they’re sick! Are they safe for humans or are these people crazy?”

      Sorry for the bad news. We’ve bought stuff from the US so we know the true cost of what it is we need.


      1. For anyone not too far from the U.S. border [ living in Canada ] google ” my American address ”. I have not used this service but heard about it from someone who uses it to get car parts etc. from suppliers that don’t ship out of country. Not sure of the details but it might be a possibility to help reduce costs.

  8. Weekend before last, a poster here recommended this site for Joe Alton’s The Survival Medicine Handbook at $6.95. I ordered and rec’d it and 4 other books, all at Great Prices. Books are in new, excellent condition. Shipping is VERY reasonable. Thanks again to the person who gave us the link!

    Hamilton Book dot come

  9. As a crusty old fart of 63, I will have to admit I’m fairly much brain dead when it comes to meds and antibiotics. Sure I scrub in a dab of Neosproin at times, but that about the extent of it.

    With that said I also read a lot about the importance of Anti’s and how they are, at times, a life saver. AND yes I also know as a lifestyle/prepper I should have a few thousand of those little suckers lying around. So where to begin; from what I read one could spend a LOT of Rice and Beans on storing all kinds of stuff. I have checked out Camping Survival and darn near hade to take a few aspirin for the oncoming Heart-Attack. Yes yes yes, I know they are expensive, but getting a couple of bottles of each…… Ahhh I don’t think so.

    So, here is the question for all you smart people, smarter than me anyways, what to store for a general all around prep? And yes I know you’re not all doctors out there, so let me ask, what do y-all store? And how many? And why?

    From what little I know probably Doxycycline…. ? Maybe?


    1. Hey ‘Crusty’:

      I’m 76 next month.
      Never taken antibiotics and I’m still ticking !

      1. @ DeepSouth

        HEY!!! I thought that 76 was the temperature down there??? HAHAHA


    2. NRP
      If you do not have allergic reactions to certain ones start with what old homesteader recommended, then add to it. We have a well rounded supply I am lacking in one which I found at another place.

      Like your TP one roll at a time. lol

    3. I decided I should store at minimum the one none of us are allergic to that usually works for those we protect. so cipro, doxicycline, amoxicillin and keflex, and the sulfa based one. In an amount to treat serious illness for 15 days(minimum) x number of ones being prepared for, so you need to know how often the medicine will be given, generally…most are 2x, few are 3x daily.. this covers the broadest base for us…no allergies to any of these.our primary concern is respiratory, urinary.. I also utilize with a known herbal to get best benefit..and reduce chance of resistance.
      I treat the dogs til clear of symptoms for 2 days. They have gotten quite good at taking capsules.
      My base herbals are essential oils in oregano,peppermint,lemon,orange, eucalyptus, clove,lomatium,usnea,pippsisswea, frankinsence,
      I also have herbals/other forms of rabbit tobacco,(gastric intolerances and asthma, leaf and tincture)Plantain tincture(the leaf, not banana) for rashes, allergic reactions.
      also collodial silver in liquid and cream, drawing salve, epsom salt and bleach for wound care..
      in addition to standard skin applied ones neosporin, polysporin and allergy cream/benadryl substitute and hydrcortizone.
      also… Need to know which herbals are anti viral! Do your due diligence. Your life and the life of someone you love may well depend on knowing the info and being able to use it.

    4. NRP, Doxy is the one drug that I would say NOT to buy if you only want 1 or 2 antibiotics. We stock it for our dogs due to Lyme Disease. Your area doesn’t have Lyme to my knowledge. Doxy expires in about a year from the date manufactured and since there is a questionable issue about toxicity w/ Doxy, I would not suggest taking it once expired by more than 1-2 months.

      If you are not allergic to Penicillin, I would recommend one of the cillins in the 250mg dosage. If necessary, you can double-up easier than cut-in-half w/ the capsules. I would not only stock a cillin because there is great resistance w/ this group of drugs.

      One other antibiotic I’d recommend would be Cephalexin (from the group of drugs known as cephalosporin) or the Clindamycin.

      Please consider stocking one antibiotic, if for nothing else than a go-to drug for a tooth abscess. ANYONE with teeth can have this medical issue and an abscess can go systemic and be fatal if not treated quickly.

    5. I agree. My main use of Doxy comes from my former doctor…if I find an embedded deer tick I believe has been on me more than 35-48 hours, I take one dose of it to prevent Lyme disease. I have seen friends debilitated from this disease for a lifetime of problems, so I nip it in the bud…and used it rarely say once every two years for this.

    6. Like above, I have cillin and mox fish mode.
      Thomas Labs for me.
      I have read material and most cover the same illnesses so I feel with these I am covered, 3 times a day.

      But, 500 mg for my stock.

  10. I know that antibiotics have their uses and can save lives. I also know that they are way over prescribed and are very misused, which has led to all kinds of “super bugs”. Personally, I have not used them, even topically for cuts, for many years. It is my personal belief that relying upon them weakens the immune system.

    At my stage of prepping, I think it is more valuable to concentrate on food and other necessities. I don’t know if I will ever get to the point of wanting to store antibiotics.

    1. I try to look at things differently.
      I haven’t had hemroids, but I stock prepperation H.
      I never had a broken leg, but I have crutches, a cane, and a walker.
      I never had a broken neck, but I I have a cervical collar.
      I don’t have “periods” but we still stock those things needed to deal with that.
      I have never had a house fire, but I have more fire extinguishers than the local fire dept.
      I don’t have a flat tire, but I have a way to fix it.
      I don’t have a fish tank, but I do have “fish meds”

      When my wife had an infection, and called the DR’s office, and couldn’t get in for almost a week. We gave her antibiotics.
      When she went to the Dr. he said the infection was clearing up. He prescribed the EXACT same antibiotic and dosage that she had been taking. Just to be safe. ( A week later!”)
      In my opinion you have to think outside the here and now. Another example is, I have an eye patch, but I haven’t poked my eye out!!YET!?

      1. That’s my thinkin’ too! Appointments with any medical professional is usually at least 2 days away, and sometimes as much as 5.
        When a person gets suddenly very ill, a wait of 2-5 days will Kill them.
        Have you ever been to sick to sit up? or drive ?
        I have …and I have a fish tank!

      2. The situation where ‘no doctor is available’ is becoming more and more commonplace in today’s world.

        It was less than 2 weeks ago when one of my son’s had an abscessed molar and could not get to the dentist for more than a week. I gave him Clindamycin (standard dosage of 400mg 3x day for 7 days). Why this drug? It’s one of the better antibiotics and he is allergic to the cillin drugs.

        I stock cillins but also other antibiotics (Azithro, Cephalex, Cipro, Doxy, and Clindamycin) because the penicillin allergy runs in my family. Often, an allergy can crop up in adulthood, so it’s better to keep several different antibiotic ‘families’ in the stash.

      3. Well said and I agree 100%. That’s the whole idea behind “prepping” is to be prepared for what hasn’t happened yet, not what is happening at the moment.

        1. oops I meant what is happening at the moment. LOL Need more coffee

    2. I’m 66 and take no prescriptions; however, there are times antibiotics are needed.
      I had a broken tooth for years with no discomfort, and eventually, it did begin to make me sick with sinus-type pain severe on my cheek/face.
      I treated it as sinus and messed up for by the time I saw to it, the doctor said I needed 4 tablets a day instead of 2 since the abscess was greater than normal.
      In a few days, I was feeling great.
      So, I do stock two types of antibiotics.

  11. When planning a med pantry I think it best to start by thinking about the most likely causes of illness for you personally.

    What are you most prone to? Gut problems or respiratory or what?
    How likely are you to be wounded?
    What seasonal weather could cause health problems?
    Is there a local risk such as Lyme’s disease or viruses?
    What aches and pains do you have now which may become more severe over time?

    The Survival Medecine Book has a chapter on fish antibiotics. The two main groups are anaerobic and aerobic. Personalize your choices.

  12. If you go the route of antibiotics, more power to you. If you choose not to go there, more power to you as well.

    Knowledge is power and you should consider the Physicians Desk Reference in addition to a nurse’s drug manual and Taber’s medical dictionary. The Nurses drug manual is relatively free of excessive jargon. I like the Davis drug guide.

    The older I get, the more importance i place in getting enough rest, eating right and getting enough exercise. I am also a fan of herbal teas and adding slices of ginger root to my herbal teas.

    Once you get on the antibiotic train, you will discover their limitations like availability and short shelf life. This is before you begin to explore the wide world of side effects. (ie. ototoxicity in small children for vancomycin)

    The monster I fear, and the one most likely to take me down in old age, will be the microorganisms out there that are resistant to our current antibiotics. You do not have to look far. they are in your nearest hospital and skilled nursing facility.

  13. I have kept fish antibiotics on hand and used them for many years. I don’t know about everybody else but this works for me. I keep the kinds that I am not allegoric too. My dogs sometimes get wounds that get infected and fish antibiotics work well for this. I keep them in supply because if there was ever a time I could not go to the city for medical help, I would hate to die from a infected tooth or a simple infection. Antibiotics are a tool for survival and bartering if our country breaks down. They are a important link in the survival chain.

  14. The large scale use of anti biotics is in effect, a search for anti biotic resistant bacteria. The more we look, the better our chances of finding them. Anti biotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA are causing significant problems in hospitals. The anti biotics of last resort are being abused by overuse in non essential cases and even large scale use in agriculture.

    1. Bacteria are opportunistic.
      The problem isn’t that over-prescribed antibiotics are the causative agent for MRSA. The problem is the lack of complete sanitation in a hospital setting.

      Funny how the dialogue targets medications when it is actually infection or disease transmission that is the cause.

      The problem isn’t the drugs, it’s the sanitation (or the lack thereof) that has created outbreaks of bacterial and viral disease. It isn’t just MRSA via contact, it is Hep A and Hep B, and other disease-born pathogens. And there are the more serious diseases contracted via percutaneous infection (Hep B & C, HIV, etc). But govt officials never talk the truth about disease transmissions because it would be an admission that these diseases could (and have) been transmitted in medical settings, in “controlled” environments.

    2. Let’s not forget the exposure we get eating processed meats of animals given antibiotics to make them grow faster and larger???
      Another reason our bodies are becoming immune to antibiotics.

      1. And apparently this is the primary reason for this new regulation – antibiotics for livestock of our food supply. They are being given to livestock because for some reason it makes them grow faster – and therefore quicker to market. The side effect is that we’re eating that food and resistance is becoming more prevalent – partly for this very reason…

  15. The clickable picture on right hand side of screen selling fishbiotics, is that not this sites store? If not does anyone buy from them? Is it a good deal?

    1. @Jan, Yes, is a long-time advertiser here, so if you’re in the market for his products, buying from him will do its part to help keep Modern Survival Blog on-the-air. Thanks.

  16. I have family members in another state that have a 3 to 4 month wait for a doctors appt. They are routinely sent to the urgent care clinic. My sister waited 4+ months for an appt with a surgeon and that was an urgent problem.

    I keep cephlahexin on hand as that has been the main antibiotic that both dr and vet ha prescribed. However, I can say that i have had to take antibiotics maybe every 5 or 6 years and mainly for sinus type infections. I do a lot of rinses etc to nip things in the bud these days

    Anyone with kindle unlimited can read the “Survival Medicine” book free first and see if it is something that you want to buy. Was going to buy it and found it there first!

  17. Mr. and I have both taken the Thomas Lab antibiotics. You can find them by Bing or Goggle at Much info as well as mfg. WHICH is not the USA a lot of the time. I emailed Thomas labs about the FDA 2017. While the response was vague, they said the fish was not on the list. Give them a shout and see what response you get. They are usually prompt in their return mail.

  18. @ Oldhomesteder

    Have you delt with CALVETSUPPLY?

    Was thinking the same with cillin


  19. I have read it is feed/water based antibiotics only. Not bolus/pill or injectable . The fda has a list of antibiotics that are to be removed from produce feed I saw nothing on pills or non food animals. Shortages at this time are because of panic buying ( like 22 l.r.).

  20. We stock antibiotics deep, ordering a lot (7 types) every 3 months to push the dates out. My daughter the nurse says unopened in a cool dry place these should be effective for 20 years. Hope we don’t have to find out.

  21. I went back to this old thread for this post. June 11, 2023 (12 days from today)….previously over the counter antibiotics for animals will require a veterinarian writing a prescription.

    I’ve not been able to find a definitive answer whether Fish Mox or Fish Flex fall under this new regulation, but the fact that it does cover “antibiotics administered in water” and the fact you don’t get fish to swallow capsules easily…I’m thinking you better stock up this next week if these are, or if you “intend” to make these items part of your preps.

    1. I believe these new regs cover other otc treatments with human equivalent cross-over (Ivermectin).

  22. Dennis,… are spot on about fishmox, I have been lucky with a friend who travels to Mexico twice a year to a pharmacy and brings me back ‘ormocyn t-5’ the Amoxicillin equivalent. Last time I received 25 box’s which I store in the freezer, These are 500 mg with 20 per box cost 1 Buck (each box,)we pay for u.s. pharmaceutical manufacturing to be sold in other countries for pennies, we are screwed by our govt on a daily basis how truly pathetic this country has become.

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