“We cultured your cat’s ears, and she’s got staph in there, so she needs to be quarantined away from your other cat and take these antibiotics.”
This was actually recently told to a client of mine, who was seeking more information from a local conventional vet to see why her cat’s ears continued to produce debris and wax.
But also, very revealing of a modern societal fallacy: germs are the cause of disease. Kill germs and the disease will go away.
Now, germs certainly can cause disease.
Flu viruses make people sick, as do cold viruses, right? But why not everyone who’s been exposed? Have you ever noticed that?
Say you go to a gathering, and your friend Susan is sneezing.
Runny nose, hanky in hand, maybe red-rimmed eyes, and telling you she doesn’t feel well. We’ve all been there.
You go home and a day or two later, start sniffling yourself. Maybe feel a little run down. “Oh oh, now I’m getting that cold! Darn it!”
You might even talk with friends who were at the same gathering, interacting with Susan like you were, and some of them are also starting to get sick.
Germ Theory 1, Common Sense 0
When you think about it, it seems pretty obvious that you “caught” this cold bug from your sick friend, and so did some of your buddies.
Some. Of. Them.
Often times, we stop there in our search for meaning. “Susan had it, now I’ve got it, and Janet got it, therefore, it’s infectious. Damn virus!”
But if you ask far enough, you’ll likely uncover others who, though being in the same party, did not get sick.
They were also exposed, but they are going about their business as usual.
Why is that? Is it really all about evil germs and “infections?”
I think not.
Louis Pasteur, though only one of several researching germs and illness, is often called the “father of the germ theory.”
The theory goes that germs spread from the sick to the well person, make the well person sick, and on it goes.
And that’s partially true.
That’s why some people get the same cold or flu you had, shortly after you got it.
At the end of his life, Pasteur supposedly said, “Bernard (his contemporary with opposing views) is correct. The bacteria are nothing. The soil is everything.”
Rudolf Virchow, another “father of the germ theory”, stated in his later years,
“If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat — diseased tissues — rather than causing disease.”
The Animal Experience
Indeed, we see evidence of Virchow’s brilliant idea frequently in veterinary medicine. Two common areas are the ear and the skin.
If your animal develops allergies, a common aftermath of vaccination, the ears and skin are often the organs that go wild with reaction.
A single flea bite can set a flea-allergic dog into wild scratching and chewing, often to the point of bleeding.
Certain cases will show staphylococcus (staph, for short) overgrowing on the skin.
The “staph infections” are almost uniformly treated with antibiotics, at least if Dr. WhiteCoat is involved.
To whit, my client with her cat’s wax laden ears.
Dr. WhiteCoat cultured a swab of the ear, found staph growing on the petri dish, and said, “Ah, HA! The cause of this poor cat’s suffering is this germ. She has an Ear Infection! It can get the other cat sick, and must be killed with antibiotics!”
Fact: you and I and every mammal on the planet have staph on our skin. Normal flora.
It’s all part of living in bodies as we do.
The second cat isn’t going to “catch” staph from the cultured one with all the ear wax.
She’s already got it. It’s not overgrowing because her ears are healthy.
In homeopathic practice, as is true in other holistic veterinary practices, like acupuncture or herbal medicine, we are often called upon when this “kill germs!” approach fails.
Your animal has had repeated rounds of antibiotics, maybe with steroids to quell the inflammation, and STILL the poor dear keeps bouncing back into her same illness.
Though it often gets worse, and less responsive with each attempt.
So, we are often the Doctor of Last Resort, D.L.R.
And, knowing there’s got to be more to the case than germs, we set about improving nutrition, stopping vaccinations and toxic pesticides, and, at least in homeopathy, look for the proper medicine that can spur the individual to “fight the good fight,” and beat the disease finally and all.
Why are there so many failures before we get the patient?
Largely because the germ was there as a result of the organ being diseased.
Here’s how it often goes:
- Your animal was vaccinated.
- After a few weeks to a month, allergies started. Maybe to fleas, or foods, or pollen, or grass. Often to many things, all at once.
- The allergic response inflames tissues of the body, commonly skin or ears. In people, it’s the lungs and sinuses.
- The inflamed tissues lose their natural resistance, their natural balance of friendly flora, and some opportunist “germ” overgrows. A staph bacteria. A yeast, like candida. Many others are possible and will be found on culture.
The conventional medical mind is hung up on germs as the cause, and equally enamored with antibiotics. Ever heard the saying,
“If your only tool is a hammer, pretty soon everything starts to look like a nail?”
That’s what we’re seeing here. “One size fits all, no-brainer” medicine.
Bigger Hammers Don’t Help
When the initial antibiotics fail, the next step is often ever more powerful ones.
Not only do stronger antibiotics not solve the underlying vaccination illness (aka vaccinosis), but they carry with them negative side effects.
- Collateral damage. Good bacteria (now known to outnumber the host cells by several fold!) are killed, along with the intended victim in your animal’s ear or skin.
- Further compromised immunity. When beneficial bacterial populations in your animal’s gut die off, her immune system, already in a state of disrepair (allergy), takes a hit, making recovery more difficult.
- Antibiotic resistance. The so-called Super Bugs that antibiotics cannot kill.
- Toxicity, which can result in deafness, joint pain, kidney failure, and more.
Back to the Soil
Traditional Chinese Medicine has recognized for about 4000 years, that the terrain, not the germ, is the thing.
Restoring lost balance in the body is the approach, and
When the body is healthy, the germ no longer has a home.
We see the very same thing time and again in homeopathic veterinary practice.
We improve your animal’s diet, stop the negative influences (largely, vaccinations and flea poisons), give a tiny dose of a remedy that can start a response by her vital force to right the imbalance, and stand back in awe as your animal gets well.
This happy outcome is the reward for focusing not on killing germs, but rather, on restoring health.