Don’t Mess with Mother Nature! (Immune System at Work!)
Ever hear this one?
There’s a high white blood cell count (or fever)! This animal needs antibiotics!
This often comes from Dr. WhiteCoat, and is repeated by animal owners who heard it while under conventional medical care. I maintain it’s patently false. And dangerous to accept as truth.
Let’s examine it critically.
White Blood Cells: Good Guys or Not?
The white blood cells are part of the immune system, and when they are elevated on a blood test, what does that mean? It merely means this animal is seeing the need for a good fight against some invader (barring a more rare, complicated diagnosis, like bone marrow cancer). It might be a bacteria, maybe a virus, a yeast, maybe even a chronic parasitic infestation.
So, the fight is on! The immune system is engaged, doing what it was designed to do, to take on the invaders and stop them from taking over the body and wreaking havoc. Why would antibiotics be needed in this situation?
The good bacteria are those in the lower intestinal tract, a population thought to be ten times larger than the number of our own cells!¹
These “friendly bacteria” (and fewer yeasts) are working for us, and our animals, by producing vitamins, out-competing harmful bacteria, helping immunity, and even producing beneficial hormones. It’s common knowledge that giving antibiotics kills these good species and leads to the overgrowth of yeasts in the body, the commonest being Candida species, which can lead to problems of their own.
I Got the Fever!
Fever is another part of a healthy immune response to invaders. When a fever is mounted, the body’s temperature elevates to make the reproduction of pathogens more difficult.
Wait. That sounds useful, right?
You bet it is. And why would antibiotics help this battle, going on efficiently and concertedly, with the intelligence of countless years of evolution behind it?
That’s exactly what I ask, every time I hear this ILLogic.
Get Outta the Way!
Almost always we do not need to step in and “treat a high white count” or “treat a fever.” (Mom always gave me aspirin when I had one. Luckily, antibiotics weren’t so popular when I was a kid.)
Most of the time (98% probably), the incredibly well-tuned vital force, that part of us all that keeps us well, is doing a great job, flexing the immune response “muscle”, killing invaders, walling them off, digesting their remains, and eliminating their toxic waste products. We just need to trust that, and let it happen.
But, I Want to Help!
If you want to be part of the solution, to help the immune response, don’t kill the good guys in the gut or turn down the internal thermostat.
Instead, add some well studied immune support. Maybe echinacea, goldenseal, vitamin C, or my favorite, Transfer Factor.
- For dogs, Canine Immune Complete
- For cats, Feline Immune Formula
- And for kids, TF Chewable.
- And everyone can use TF Plus
That’s what I take, and I haven’t had a flu or cold in so long I can’t remember.
Transfer Factors both increase the immune response and balance it, far better than anything they’ve been compared to.
Do No Harm!
Help is not indiscriminate killing of bacteria, or giving anti-fever drugs. Work with the amazing response that the immune system is waging. You’ll have a happier ending for all concerned.
This is a great blog post. Working in the vet world for so long in Texas, I have seen my share of Parvo puppies and many very severe cases. I will never forget when I told one of our wonderful ER docs that the Parvo pup I was providing nursing care for spiked a temp of about 104. Yes, he looked awful, but I was so excited! His eyes had life though. He had the vital force to actually CREATE a fever in order to cleanse any secondary invaders from his system.
I was excited that his body was mounting a response to the virus. After showing my excitement, I was met with a quizzical look and a hefty shade of doubt from the vet. She did not believe fever was a good thing at all, nor did it mean anything good for the pup. She wanted to switch antibiotics and add an anti-inflammatory.
When they wanted to give more meds, I asked them to wait-that I felt intuitively the pup was going to make it if we let his body do its job. With nothing to lose (they said he would not make it-most likely), I went ahead and worked with his vital force and provided some energy work.
If only his temp went down a degree or so, they’d be more comfortable and would likely leave him alone! Working on the pup, temp went down within moments to a more comfortable 103. He stayed at that temp for a few hours, then down to 102 and wagging his tail.
The vets were Ok with that and the pup did make it despite a grim prognosis. When I see a patient mount a fever, I am always excited, it means their vital force is intact and doing its job….we just have to provide support and not suppress it.
TRUST the body! Fever can be a great thing!
Hello Dr. Falconer. On March 15th our 14 year lab underwent open pyometra surgery. She had been into the vet with urinary bleeding previous to the surgery and it was determined that the surgery was necessary to save her. She came thru surgery fine and has been on antibiotics for any remaining infection. Bleeding continued however and we had her in for another check up and found that her blood cell counts were still off (I can’t recall what they were but both white and red were abnormal). The vet decided to take her into surgery again just to make sure everything looked ok – which was done last week. They have told us that it’s most likely cancer – bladder or some type that wasn’t visible to the eye. Since home this last time I decided to do some research on beneficial herbs and I have put her on a natural diet: organic brown rice, lentils, eggs, livers, tuna, sardines, cranberries, turmeric, organic yogurt and other beneficial herbs. Is there something I should be giving her to offset the cancer – if that is what it is? Or something to assist getting her blood cells back to normal? I would like to get her off the antibiotics if they aren’t really doing her any good at this point. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain – but we have noticed a few piddle problems happening in the house now. Please let me know if you can offer any advice.