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?
Antibiotics do one thing, and one thing only.
They kill bacteria, and often quite indiscriminately, the good with the “bad.”
The good bacteria are those in the lower intestinal tract, a population thought to be ten times larger than the number of cells we have that are our own!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 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, TF Canine Complete; for cats, Feline Complete. 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.