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  • 7 Common Diseases that Affect Senior Cats

    Whether it's in cats or in humans, aging significantly increases the chances of suffering disease. Today, cats are living longer and more fruitful lives, mainly thanks to massive improvements in nutrition, veterinary, and home care. Still, once your cat is nearing old age, there are several health complications that you should be aware of.

    Knowing which are the signs and symptoms of common feline diseases will allow you to take your cat to your veterinarian at the right time, therefore treating its health issues before they develop further. Here are 7 common senior cat diseases to keep an eye on:

    1. Chronic Kidney Disease

    Chronic kidney disease is a common illness that affects domestic cats, but it is especially common in older cats and certain breeds. Kidneys play a vital role in your cat's body, as they are tasked with filtering and removing many of the waste produced by your pet's body, which is then expelled through the urine. Once the kidneys have started to fail there is no way to eliminate this waste, so it will start to build in your cat's bloodstream, a process called Azotemia, and cause damage to many organs.

    Although there is no definitive cure for chronic kidney disease, a timely diagnosis and treatment can help your cat live longer and feel more comfortable. Common symptoms of this disease include increased thirst, a spike in urine volumes, weight loss, diminishing appetite, and frequent vomiting. Certain supplements containing spirulina have been shown to be beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys, but itsuse should be supervised by a veterinarian if your cat already has kidney disease.

    2. Heart Disease

    Heart conditions are a common occurrence among senior cats. Although there are many types of heart disease, the most common one is Cardiomyopathy which weakens the heart's muscles and stops them from performing properly. As the disease progresses, it may lead to heart failure or other complications.

    Other forms of heart disease include Degenerative Valvular Disease, which causes the heart to grow and eventually fail, along with other conditions that can affect the cat's heart as well. Regardless of its origin, the end result of heart disease is Congestive Heart Failure, which means that the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently.

    3. Diabetes Mellitus

    As in humans, feline Diabetes is a condition that creates high sugar levels in the blood over prolonged periods of time. Cats suffering from obesity due to incorrect diet, or leading a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of developing this disease. If diagnosed with this condition, your cat will require frequent insulin injections for the rest of his life. However, remission of the disease is possible if it's diagnosed in its early stages. Certain supplements have been shown to be beneficial for diabetic patients.

    Remission of Diabetes focuses on treating the disease before the pancreas has burned itself out trying to keep up producing enough insulin to regulate the abnormal glucose levels. Common symptoms of Diabetes in cats include drinking lots of water, an increase in the frequency of urination, increased appetite, and weight loss. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections are a common side effect of diabetic pets and can be prevented with a clinically proven supplement like Cranimals Original.

    4. Arthritis

    Arthritis is a degenerative joint condition that affects both middle-aged and older cats. Unfortunately, despite the disease being so common, it's usual for owners to confuse its symptoms with the normal changes brought by aging. Cats who have arthritis are more likely to become sedentary, stop trying to access elevated surfaces any longer, and sleep longer hours. They can also show signs of swelling in the joints, lameness, increase stiffness and decreased flexibility, and feel uncomfortable in certain positions.

    Arthritis can significantly diminish your cat's quality of life if it's left untreated. However, with adequate pain-relief treatment, your cat can go back to enjoy a more comfortable life. Supplements that contain natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients and Omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial in preventing and alleviating arthritis.

    5. Hyperthyroidism

    Hyperthyroidism is a glandular condition caused by an excessive increase in production of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland. Cats who suffer this disease display a seemingly contradictory tendency to lose weight despite having a big increase in their appetite. Besides these symptoms, other common signs of hyperthyroidism include vomiting, frequent diarrhea, increased thirst, and urination. Many of these symptoms are shared by some other more serious diseases, such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease, which is why an early diagnosis is necessary to start treatment as soon as possible.

    6. Dental disease

    Dental problems are a common occurrence in cats of all ages. It is estimated that as many as 2/3 of cats over the age of 3 suffer from dental disease. This painful condition is commonly caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar formation in the cat's teeth as a result of years of poor (if any) dental care. The disease affects both the teeth and the gums around it, inflicting pain on the animal, diminishing its appetite, and causing weight loss. Powdered cranberry supplements when added to a cats daily meals, will help prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque on teeth and resulting dental disease.

    7. Cancer

    As with humans, cancer is a disease that becomes more prevalent as your cat ages. Many types of cancer affect cats, such as the highly common Lymphosarcoma, but not all of them have to be fatal. Many types of cancer can be treated successfully if they are detected at their early stages. A variety of strategies are available to help prevent your cat from getting cancer, including antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic berry supplements, dietary changes (i.e. reducing or eliminating kibble and switching to a whole food, home made diet). Treatment options range from natural therapies such as novel food supplements, specific dietary changes, surgery, chemotherapy, and X ray therapy and depending on your choice, can significantly extend your pet's life. However, symptoms depend on the type of cancer involved, so regular checkups are the best way to track your cats cancer risk as they age.


    The older a cat gets, the more likely it is that it will suffer more than one of these diseases. That's why taking care of an older cat is especially challenging. Fortunately, veterinary science has come a long way in the past decades, and many of these conditions can be mitigated with an early diagnosis and proper treatment. As well, and perhaps even more importantly, if pet parents take the time to educate themselves regarding the proper diet and supplements for their cats, then the risk of cancer can almost be entirely eliminated. We recommend feeding food that contains as much fresh unprocessed ingredients as possible (fresh/ canned fish, sea greens (spirulina, algae), fish or algae oil (DHA Omega 3), and avoids as far as possible a heavy reliance or eliminated completely a kibble based diet. Kibble diets contain highly processed ingredients, of questionable origin, and frequently contain contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides and Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMOs).

    Your cat should be examined by a veterinarian at least twice a year. Regular veterinary care and preventative health care at home, can save your pet's life and provide him the comfort he deserves during his last years. Keep in mind that the sooner a disease is diagnosed and treated the better. So make sure that you keep your eyes open for any odd behavior or symptom exhibited by your cat, such as increased or diminished appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, etc.

    However, you should never assume that as the cat's owner you'll always be able to tell if there's something wrong with your pet. Cats are famous for their ability to mask their sickness, so you will need an expert to know if your cat has a problem. That's why your regular visits to the veterinarian should include at a minimum a complete physical examination which will reveal the true state of your beloved mascot's health. Any easy way to check your cat at home for some of the most common health issues is to regularly do a urine test at home using the same type of diabetes and kidney failure or urinary tract infection tests as your veterinarian uses in his office.

  • Causes of Seizures in Dogs

    Witnessing a beloved dog experiencing a seizure can be both heartbreaking and frightening. Many pet owners are unprepared for this event and may not know how to handle it. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and collected. Quickly move any furniture or other objects that may cause injury to your dog out of the way and remove other dogs from the area. Occasionally, other dogs will see the seizure as a sign of weakness and attack the seizing dog. Don't try to interfere with the seizure movements or open your dogs mouth as his jaws can clamp down hard during a seizure and cause injury to you. Be as calm and soothing to your dog as possible during the seizure and immediately report the event to your veterinarian, particularly if its a new onset seizure. Once the seizure is over, its important to determine what caused the seizure to occur in the first place.

    What are the most common causes of dog seizures?

    Brain disorders such as tumours; viral, bacterial or parasitic infections; strokes; head trauma to external causes such as nutritional deficiencies as well as toxins like lead, insecticides, mouldy foods and some human supplements can provoke brain changes that lead to seizures. Additionally, metabolic abnormalities such as liver or kidney disease can cause seizures, and some anaesthetic agents and medications may also trigger them in sensitive animals.

    Your veterinarian will start with a history, including background on vaccinations, diet, exposure to toxins, and a possible relationship between seizures and other activities. Blood chemistry, a complete blood count and urinalysis will help systematically rule out many of the causes not originating from within the brain itself. If no disease is found and the animal is between one and five years of age, idiopathic (cause unknown) epilepsy may be diagnosed. Dogs less than one year of age, are more likely to have a congenital abnormality, while those between five to seven years of age, may have specific disorders of the brain. Once the initial consult is complete further diagnostics may include may include an MRI and cerebral spinal fluid tap.

    Seizures due to toxin ingestion

    If your dog has no prior history of seizures, its important to consider the possibility that your dog has ingested a toxin. This would be of particular concern if your dog were spending time outside before the event where he could have come into contact with a toxic substance in a trash can, pesticides, antifreeze or any of a number of other chemicals that can induce seizures. The most common cause of toxin related seizures is lead poisoning. If you have lead based paint in your house and your dog is prone to chewing pointed surfaces, this could trigger a seizure if your dog ingests high amounts of it. Some chew toys may also contain high amounts of lead. Certain indoor and household plants can cause seizures in dogs as well as some foods, such as chocolate. ​

    Seizures due to infection

    Distemper is one of the most common causes of infection related seizure. This is most commonly seen in puppies who havent been vaccinated against the distemper virus. If your dog has received the distemper vaccination, this is unlikely to be the cause.

    Causes of dog seizures: Vaccinations

    If a dog has a genetic predisposition to seizures, a simple vaccination can sometimes trigger seizure activity. Talk to your veterinarian about spacing your dogs vaccines days or weeks apart if he has a history of seizures in the past. Be sure your dog is only receiving vaccinations that are necessary to preserve his health. Some vaccinations have been associated with health problems in dogs and veterinarians are now following a revised vaccination schedules announced by the The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Task Force to reduce the amount of vaccines administered to dogs as a result. Distemper, parvo and adenovirus vaccinations are now recommended every 3 years as opposed to yearly, and AAHA acknowledges that distemper and parvo vaccines provide immunity for at least 5 years and the adenovirus vaccine for at least 7 years. In many cases you can avoid revaccination for example by having a titer test performed on your dog to gauge their immunity status, as in the case of Rabies.

    Seizures due to metabolic problems

    Two other causes of seizure in a dog include an underactive thyroid and a low blood sugar level. An underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is not a common cause of seizures in a dog, but it can be successfully treated with thyroid replacement therapy. Certain medications can also lower thyroid hormone levels and should be considered if your dog develops new onset seizures. Low blood sugar can trigger seizure activity, and a full workup will be needed to determine why your dogs blood sugar is low.

    Brain tumors and seizures

    Most veterinarians recommend a workup to rule out a brain tumor in a dog older than five years of age that has a new onset seizure as a seizure can sometimes be the first sign of a brain tumor. Certain breeds are more predisposed to brain tumors such as Boxers and Doberman pinschers, but they can occur in any breed. Early treatment is crucial, because each consecutive seizure causes more nerve cells within the brain to fire randomly, so each seizure actually makes it more likely that another one will occur and makes management of the condition much more difficult. Dogs that have had more than 2 seizures in a 6 month period, should receive appropriate diagnostic workup and treatment as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are critical to a successful outcome.

  • Recognizing and Treating Feline Hyperthyroidism

    What is hyperthyroidism?

    Feline hyperthyroidism is a common disease that affects middle age and senior cats (usually age 8 and older). Hyperthyroidism is a disorder caused by an enlarged thyroid gland which produces too much thyroid hormone (called T3 and T4). An enlarged thyroid is typically due to a tumor affecting one or both lobes of the gland. In the majority of cases, these tumors are benign; however, in 2-5% of cases, they are cancerous.

    What are the symptoms?

    Thyroid hormone affects numerous systems in the body (metabolism, heart, kidneys, and liver), so an unstable thyroid can have disastrous and even fatal consequences. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include:

    • Excessive thirst and urination
    • Increased appetite
    • Aggressive behavior (or overly energetic)
    • Yowling and panting
    • Weight loss (despite increased appetite)
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Muscle weakness
    • Lethargy
    • Unkempt-looking coat or hair loss

    The majority of cats with this health issue lose weight while simultaneously having an increased appetite and onset is typically between 12-13 years of age.

    Note: Some cats may demonstrate other symptoms not listed above (such as anorexia). It was once thought that these cats exhibited atypical hyperthyroidism. However, it is more widely thought that these animals have other problems in addition to the hyperthyroidism, such as kidney disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

    How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

    A veterinarian will perform a physical exam and a CBC (complete blood count) with a special, thyroid-specific test known as the T4 panel. During the physical exam, the veterinarian will feel the cats neck area (where the thyroid is located) and may be able to feel the enlarged gland. The cats heart rate and blood pressure will also be checked. Cats with hyperthyroidism will have an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure.

    The results from the blood test will offer a more complete picture and also rule out other conditions, which can present similar to hyperthyroidism such as chronic renal failure or liver disease.

    What is the treatment?

    There are three basic methods of treating hyperthyroidism: drug therapy, radioactive iodine therapy, and surgery.

    Drug Therapy

    A veterinarian will prescribe one of two medicines usually taken twice daily: tapazole or methimazole. Both medicines are effective in regulating thyroid hormone levels (but do not destroy the tumor) and can be administered in pill form or as a transdermal cream that is rubbed in the ear.

    The advantages of antithyroid drug therapy are that it is a non-invasive, relatively inexpensive treatment. Medication is also the only treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism and underlying kidney disease. Hyperthyroidism tends to mask kidney disease, so a careful balance is required to ensure that thyroid levels return to an acceptable level without leading to renal failure.

    There are some cats, however, that experience side effects to the medication such as nausea, vomiting, fever, anemia, and decreased appetite. Also, the medication will need to be administered for the rest of the cats life, which causes a large amount of stress on both animal and owner.

    Radioactive Iodine Therapy (R131)

    This treatment is permanently effective in up to 95% of cats with hyperthyroidism and no underlying kidney disease. Radioactive iodine is injected under the skin. The thyroid gland metabolizes the iodine, but only the diseased cells of the thyroid gland are destroyed, leaving healthy tissue unaffected. This treatment is performed at a certified veterinary hospital and requires that the cat is hospitalized for 1-2 weeks until its radioactive levels are acceptable. Cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, kidney disease, diabetes, or other serious condition are not candidates for radioactive iodine therapy.

    The advantages of this procedure are that provides a permanent cure, is safe with no serious side effects, and provides the lowest level of stress on the animal. However, this treatment is expensive and requires that the cat is in good health before treatment.


    In some cases, the veterinarian may opt to surgically remove one of the lobes of the thyroid gland, known as a thyroidectomy. This treatment will also permanently cure hyperthyroidism if performed correctly. This is an expensive procedure that carries some risk. In some cases, not all of the damaged thyroid gland is removed, or, damaged is caused to the surrounding tissue in the throat. (Some owners have reported a change in the cats meow.) As with radio iodine treatment, not all cats are candidates for surgery.

    What is the prognosis?

    Cats with hyperthyroidism can lead healthy, happy lives provided that they receive proper, ongoing treatment.

  • Cranimals CEO Interview With Radio Show - Pets & Their People

    Check out Cranimals CEO, WilmaPretorius Ph.D. , and her latest interview with Pets and Their People.

    Dave: We're back, and we got Dr. Wilma Pretorius of Cranimals on, and George, what do you think? Think it's going to be a good interview, right?

    George:It's going to be a great interview. Welcome in, Dr. Wilma.

    Wilma Pretorius:Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm happy to be here.

    George:We're happy to have you. Cranimals ... Okay, I blew it. It's fine. How did you get into this business? It's a supplement, and there's a million of them out there, but how did you get into developing [00:00:30] the supplement and how do you separate yourself from the noise? I guess that's the real question.

    Wilma Pretorius: The story behind Cranimals actually starts with me founding the parent company in 2007. Cranimals is actually a retail division of that company. My parent company actually manufactures berry extracts that are used and exported worldwide. They're used in functional foods and supplements and things like that.

    It's a [00:01:00] little bit different to all the other pet supplement companies out there that actually buy their ingredients that they use in their products. We actually manufacture 80% of the ingredients that go into our products ourselves.

    I had pets when I started my company, and two of them actually died of cancer. At the time, our products were exported and used in human products. It was just a light bulb really went off for me, and at that [00:01:30] point I decided that it really would make sense to get our ingredients, which are just really very functional, they're certified organic, most of them, and to get those types of ingredients into pet products or pet supplements.

    That's really how Cranimals was born, I would say. Definitely a different story to most other pet supplement companies out there, where we really make [00:02:00] all of the ingredients, mostly, all of the ingredients that go into our product. That's how it all started.

    George: I'll admit we have pet supply stores and we sell your product, and I guess it was back a couple of years ago. A lady came in, and she had a dog, an older dog, who had cancer. Somewhere she discovered your product, and she was giving it to them. For people who don't know, it's a powdered substance, and you add it on top of their food, or I guess that's the best way to [00:02:30] get it to transfer into the animal itself.

    Anyway, she was doing testimonials inside the store, swearing up and down that it revitalized her dog from his bout with cancers and he was feeling better, he was looking better, and extended his life.

    Wilma Pretorius: Yeah, I totally believe that. The ingredients in our product ... I mean, berries, I think everybody knows that [00:03:00] berries really are superfoods. That's the basis for our product, these berry extracts. They're just ... They've been shown in multiple clinical settings to just be extremely beneficial for a host of chronic diseases, including cancer.

    I completely am a believer in these ingredients as well as really the basis for the products are nutritional medicine [00:03:30] and prevention of disease as well as treatment. Really you are what you eat. People really, I think, are starting to come back to that as well, that what you put into your body or what you put into the body of your pet really has a profound effect on their health. These products are really superfoods. They're superfood extracts. From that point of view, they're actually nutritional medicines.

    George:[00:04:00] There's no question that people are starting to learn. Even myself, I grew up in a typical city environment, an Italian heritage, and we ate a lot of meat and potatoes and pasta. It doesn't take long to develop chronic diseases and inflammation in your body. The sugars are the killer, and I think that people got to understand that.

    Wilma Pretorius: I totally agree with you, absolutely, 100%. I think there's [00:04:30] a complete trend in the pet health right now that it basically mirrors a lot of the chronic diseases that we're seeing in humans as well, and it's completely tied to diet. There's just really this focus on carbohydrates in pet diets, particularly these processed or kibble-based diets.

    It's generally really not suited to ... [00:05:00] Species-appropriate would be the correct term. It's really not a species-appropriate diet for pets. It's really an overload, as you say, of sugar, which then causes inflammation. It also leads to a host of other chronic diseases like diabetes, for example.

    It is actually also tied to things like recurrent urinary tract infections and then [00:05:30] inflammation and these things then eventually lead to cancer. Absolutely, diet is a big one for pets. Then also the environment, I think. Our products basically address all of these underlying issues, whereas I feel the drugs basically address symptoms, but nutrition and nutritional supplements really help [00:06:00] address systemic disease and correct things on a fundamental level versus just treating a symptom.

    George: Now, Dr. Wilma, of course, with the premium foods over the last few years, the prices have continued to rise. We got foods in our stores that are $80, $90 a bag. Of course the cheapest, I guess, is around $50 now. Again, that's in the kibble side. We also have the raw diets and the freeze-dried and the dehydrated and all the [00:06:30] newer generation.

    When somebody buys an $80 bag of dog food and to convince them that they probably should put a supplement or feed a supplement, sometimes they look at you crazy. They said, "If I wanted to do that, I would go back to feeding my dog Gaines Meal or Gaines-Burgers and Alpo, the stuff that we were used to in the '70s and '80s." It's almost hard to justify, but people got to understand that they don't get a lot of nutrition sometimes out of that kibble, no [00:07:00] matter how expensive it is.

    Wilma Pretorius: Absolutely, and it's also long-term. Our pets are living longer, but that also basically gives them the opportunity to develop chronic disease. Cancer, diabetes, all of these things are really afflicting older dogs in very high percentages. You have to weigh, "Do I want to spend more when my pet is from puppyhood, [00:07:30] do I want to spend a bit more on their diet and food and supplementation and then prevent a whole host of health problems down the line?" which then could translate into honestly thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.

    That's something to think about. It might be a bit short-sighted to think, "I'm not going to give my dog any additional supplements or any additional fresh food on top of that [00:08:00] expensive kibble," but in the long term, it really makes sense because you're going to save yourself a lot of headache. Not only in vet bills, but quality of life for your pet. I think that's something pet parents should consider.

    George: Absolutely. It's the whole package, for sure. Dr. Wilma, how many remedies does Cranimals have on the marketplace at this time?

    Wilma Pretorius: At this point we have a full core supplements, and [00:08:30] the actual supplements that we do have on the market address most of the chronic health issues that modern pets currently face. We have a clinically proven urinary tract pet supplement that's suited for both cats and dogs, and that basically addresses recurrent urinary tract infections and struvite crystals and stones which is a big health issue for both cats and dogs.

    [00:09:00] Then we also have a detoxification or spirulina-based supplement. That supplement provides benefits for diabetic pets as well as skin and coat allergies and food intolerances and kidney and liver disease. Then we have Cranimals Very Berry, which is really a superfood antioxidant supplement. That helps with chronic [00:09:30] disease such as arthritis and cancer. Then we have a puppy supplement which is specifically tailored for developing puppies, for supplying DHA omega-3 and other nutrients for developing brains and skin and coat health.

    George: Now, I saw ...

    Wilma Pretorius:Those are the core ...

    George:The core brands.

    Wilma Pretorius:Yeah.

    George:I saw you also have something for tear stains, which is a chronic issue with a lot of pets.

    Wilma Pretorius:[00:10:00] We do, actually. That is the Cranimals Detox, or the Cranimals Gold products are actually natural remedies for tear stains. Again, no antibiotics are used. A lot of other tear stain products actually rely on an antibiotic action. Our product is really effective to naturally reduce or eliminate tear stains [00:10:30] and quite a few groomers actually use and recommend our products for that.

    It basically is a natural anti-inflammatory and it helps to, as a result of reducing inflammation, clears up tear stains. It doesn't work overnight. It takes about four to six weeks to start seeing results, but then once the tear stains clear up they stay [00:11:00] put, basically.

    George: Obviously, if you don't have a tear stain issue or you're just getting a puppy, it would be helpful to start ahead of time and whatever enzymes or whatever bleeds out of their eyes, it's ... I know it's nothing worse than seeing a beautiful dog and then having all these ugly stains around his eyes.

    Wilma Pretorius: It is, absolutely. It's unsightly and lots of pet parents really struggle with that. Again, if you do have a puppy, it makes sense to start them off [00:11:30] and really give them a strong foundation in health so that once they do grow up and they reach their older senior years, that they really are ... That they have a really great quality of life. I think that's really important.

    I think one of the big issues also with modern pets is they tend to mirror us as humans, what our lifestyle is like. Some [00:12:00] pets are obese and so they don't get enough exercise. They may actually be a direct mirror of what your lifestyle is like. They're almost like sentinels in that respect, where they point out things that might need some attention either in your environment or in your lifestyle.

    I think a lot of chronic disease is really rooted in diet [00:12:30] and lifestyle choices. We can make a huge difference both to our own and to our pets' health if we just pay attention to those two things.

    George: I not only think you're correct, I know you're correct, because over these last several years I've tried to make some choices and some adjustments in lifestyle, and like I said, diet, but I still have a little ways to go because it's hard to break old habits. I think my dogs are in better shape than I am right now, but that's a subject for another day.

    Wilma Pretorius: [00:13:00] That's true. That's the good thing about dogs that they want to get out and they want to be active, so frequently they might actually be the driver to get us out there doing things. It's a reciprocal relationship, really.

    George: That's what they're for, yeah.

    Wilma Pretorius: We keep them fit and ... Yeah, that's absolutely what they're for.

    George: Dr. Wilma, thank you for coming on. What is the Cranimals web site?

    Wilma Pretorius: The Cranimals web site is very easy. It's basically [00:13:30] wwww.cranimals.com. We have lots of information on our blog, and then you can have a look at all the products and of course we also have testimonials on there. Yeah, your listeners, feel free to hop onto the web site and email us also if you have any questions or queries or you need some advice regarding your pet. We're always happy to help.

    George: We appreciate you coming on today and spreading some of your knowledge. It's real. It's [00:14:00] basic. It's there, and everybody knows it, but we have to be pushed towards it every once in a while. Hopefully this conversation has helped. It's helped me. I know what I'm having for lunch. It's going to be a salad today.

    Wilma Pretorius:Good stuff, yes. While you're at it you may even want to give some to your dog, if they'll eat it.

    George: Absolutely. We appreciate you coming on today, Dr. Wilma. Thank you so much.

    Click here to listen to the entire show!

  • Canine Ehrlichiosis - The Other Tick-Borne Disease Every Dog Owner Needs to Know About

    If you are a dog lover, you probably already know about Lyme Disease, the dangerous tick-borne illness that can afflict your dog and even affect the human members of your family. But there is another danger hiding in that tick bite, and this one is far less well known but no less serious. With climate change, the habitat for ticks is every expanding due to warming temperatures.

    That danger is Canine Ehrlichiosis, and this tick-borne illness can manifest in a number of different ways. Canine Ehrlichiosis can affect both domestic and wild dogs, and it can be transmitted by several varieties of tick, including the common brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). In North America the primary tick carrying the disease is the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) and American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis).







    The illness is passed from one animal to the next through the bite of an infected tick, making parasite control even more important for dog owners.

    Nearly every state in the country is home to one of the ticks capable of harboring Canine Ehrlichiosis, so prevention and parasite control is the best defense. It is also important for dog owners to be on the lookout for the warning signs of the illness, which generally start to develop within one to three weeks of the tick bite.

    Symptoms and Diagnosis for Canine Ehrlichiosis

    The acute phase of Canine Ehrlichiosis typically lasts between two and five weeks, and some of the most common symptoms include depression, eye discharge, pale mucous membranes, lethargy, fever, anemia and shortness of breath and sometimes neurological signs. Many infected dogs also exhibit other signs, like loss of appetite, bruising and stiffness and pain in the joints. It is important for dog owners whose animals exhibit any of these symptoms to contact their veterinarian as soon as possible and schedule a thorough examination.








    Canine Ehrlichiosis is diagnosed based on both clinical signs and symptoms and through a special blood test designed to detect the organism that causes the disease. The blood test detects the antibodies used to fight Canine Ehrlichiosis, providing the veterinarian with a more definitive diagnosis and making treatment easier.

    Long Term Effects and Treatments

    Like Lyme Disease, Canine Ehrlichiosis can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics to treat the illness include tetracycline and doxycycline. Treatment generally lasts for a period of three to four weeks, but some owners may notice an improvement in symptoms in a matter of days.

    While more serious and advanced cases of Canine Ehrlichiosis sometimes require intensive therapy and even blood transfusions to treat anemia, the majority of cases are treatable with a simple course of antibiotics. As with any canine illness, early diagnosis is critical to preventing complications and getting the infected animal back on its paws as quickly as possible. In rare instances the disease may become chronic and does not resolve succesfully even with antibiotic treatment.

    As long-term protective immunity does not develop to ehrlichiosis, dogs can unfortunately also be reinfected. Lyme Disease may be more well known, but Canine Ehrlichiosis is also a serious danger. Dog owners who have not already implemented an effective tick control regimen should do so as soon a possible if they want to protect their pet from the many health risk posed by exposure to ticks. Fortunately, there are now a variety of effective natural tick repellents and even ultrasound tick repellents available which, along with manual inspection and removal every several days (especially if you have a short haired dog), can help avoid the use of toxic chemical based repellents. Spot on and chemical sprays have been implicated in adverse reactions and chronic health issues, and are also toxic to family members especially children.

  • Does Your Dog Have Diabetes?

    Like their human companions, dogs can develop Type I or II diabetes, a metabolic condition in which insulin is not available to remove glucose normally from the body. The damage caused by too much glucose can lead to many serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular problems, kidney impairment and problems with vision. Dogs with diabetes are also at higher risk for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Treatments are available to allow your dog to live a normal life even if he or she has this serious medical condition like diabetes. Cranimals also offers home test kits so that you can screen your pet at home in under 2 minutes for dog diabetes.

    Signs of Diabetes in Dogs






    If you notice your dog exhibiting the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to have testing done to determine if diabetes is the cause:

    • Increased water consumption -- a noticeable increase in thirst and the amount of water needed.
    • An increase in urination -- whether in the number of times the animal needs to go out or in having "accidents" in the house.
    • Constant hunger -- if the animal seems hungry all the time and needs to eat frequently.
    • Weight loss in spite of increased appetite -- diabetes can cause a change in metabolism that causes the animal to lose weight despite eating well.
    • Weakness, fatigue -- the dog may sleep more, may seem lethargic or may be less active than normal.
    • Thinning hair or dull coat -- diabetes can have this effect on the animal's coat, but it can also be caused by other illnesses.
    • Cloudiness in the eyes, cataracts -- diabetes can cause changes in the eyes and in vision.
    • Frequent vomiting -- advanced diabetes can lead to ketoacidosis as the liver begins to break down proteins and fats, which can cause vomiting.
    • Depression -- depression can result from the metabolic changes of diabetes, leaving your dog listless and uninterested in normal activities.

    How Diabetes in Dogs Is Diagnosed

    Your veterinarian will diagnose diabetes based on reported behaviors, physical examination and lab tests. Diabetes is more common in older dogs (> 8 years age), in dogs that are obese and inactive, in female animals and in certain breeds, such as Australian terriers, Keeshond's, poodles, Samoyeds, schnauzers, pugs, fox terriers and a few others as well those that have previously had hyperadrenocorticism or suffer from Cushing's disease. The incidence of diabetes in dogs has been rising since 1970, with ~0.64% of dogs affected. Dogs at lower risk for diabetes appear to be golden retrievers, boxers, American pit bull terriers and german shepherds.

    Treatment for Canine or dog Diabetes

    Fortunately, good treatment for canine diabetes is available. If the animal is very ill when first diagnosed, it may need hospitalization and care to stabilize blood sugar and determine the right treatment protocol. If the dog is not seriously ill, oral medications and a high-fibre diet can help to restore normal blood glucose levels. Many dogs require regular insulin injections, which owners can be taught to administer for their pets at home. Your vet will recommend a feeding schedule that will help to regulate blood sugar levels. Pet owners are also taught to administer regular testing that can be done at home to monitor glucose levels.






    Natural supplements formulated with cranberry and spirulina can support your diabetic dog or cat to decrease the risk for UTIs and support kidney and liver health. Spirulina has been shown to have a beneficial effect of in controlling blood glucose levels and a properly formulated cranberry supplement can effectively prevent UTIs.

    Although a diagnosis of diabetes is alarming, most pets can continue to live happy and active lives for many years with proper care.

  • When bacteria change - antibiotic failure and the rise of natural pet UTI treatments

    pet UTI treatments

    Now more than ever, the use of clinically tested, natural remedies, are needed to help stem an alarming rise in antibiotic resistance. The WHO (World Health Organization) concluded with their first report in 2014, from data in 114 countries, that antibiotic failure- is happening right now, all over the world. The good news is that even for the most common infections, such as urinary tract infections, there are natural pet UTI treatments available that can sharply reduce the need for antibiotics, thereby slowing down bacterial resistance.

    Why are antibiotics failing ?

    Over the last 30 years, no major new types of antibiotics have been developed (1). In the US alone, > 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths are due to antibiotic resistance each year (2). The main driver of antibiotic resistance is simply put: overuse of antibiotics driven by commercial animal farming and overprescription of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine. Antibiotics are commonly used as a growth promoter and to prevent disease in inhumane, unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions found on commercial Confined AnimalFarming Operations (CAFO's) where chicken and cattle are raised.

    Which infections are currently most at risk for becoming untreatable ?

    The WHO has identified Urinary tract infections as one of the top diseases currently becoming harder to treat with antibiotics. But there are in fact clinically proven natural pet UTI treatments that can help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics.

    Escherchia coli mediated Urinary Tract infections (UTIs)- arisk for your whole family

    Escherchia coli mediated Urinary Tract infections (UTIs) tops the WHO list of most common antibiotic resistant diseases, ranging from 20-90% from North America to Asia. Acute and recurrent Escherchia coli mediated UTIs are also one of the most common pet diseases. Within-household sharing and transmission of Escherchia coli, including in households where a member has an acute UTI, is the norm, and can involve any combination of humans and pets (3). Preventing infection with these common bacterial strains is therefore important for your pets health but also that of your whole family.

    How can you help ensure the safety of your family ?

    You can reduce antibiotic use to help stem resistance and preserve antibiotic effectiveness at home and by working with your vet. How ? Switch to a natural pet UTI treatment that is clinically proven to work, such asCranimals Original UTi Supplement.

    Published in American Journal Veterinary Research (4), and featured in Veterinary Practise News (6), Integrated Veterinary Care Magazine and Mercola Healthy Pets (5), Cranimals Original is the only independently tested and clinically proven (4)pet UTI treatment made with cranberry extract that effectively prevents adhesion of Escherchia coli to surfaces of the urinary tract in pets. Alongside elimination of antibiotics for reinfections/recurrences, infection related complications (struvite stone formation, incontinence and high urinary pH) are also controlled.

    Need even more reasons to switch to Cranimals Original?

    • Clinically proven both in vitro and in vivo (4)
    • Single ingredient with no known side effects even for sensitive patients.
    • Complete traceability and quality- proprietary extract manufactured by Cranimals
    • Delivers the required therapeutic dose and phytocompounds to ensure maximum antiadhesion
    • Safe for long term use, in fact, performs better the longer it is administered.(4)
    • Offer a natural, organic, non GMO product for petpatients with added antioxidant and dental health benefits.

    Dr. Gary J. Duhr, DVM , Ramapo Valley Animal Hospital, NJ, USA, " Most commonly, I recommend Cranimals for patients with high pH levels, post urinary tract infections, and to decrease incidents of urinary crystals. I am also a fan of the antioxidant properties and the dental benefits. Overall, this product has made many of my clients very happy and I am pleased with the results!"

    Embrace the use of effective natural remedies in ensuring the health and wellness of your whole family, pets and humans included.



    1. Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. 2015. State of the World’s Antibiotics, 2015. CDDEP: Washington, D.C.
    2. JID 2008:197 (15 January) ● Johnson et al.
    3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27027843
    4. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/09/14/cranberry-extract-uti-treatment.aspx#_edn3
    5. http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/study-backs-cranberries-as-uti-fighter/
  • Urinary Tract Infections in dogs linked to diabetes and struvite stones

    UTI supplement for Diabetic pets UTI supplement for Diabetic pets

    Pet UTIs and endocrine disorders:

    Pet Diabetes is one of the fastest rising modern health issues and is associated with increased risk for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in both cats and dogs in part due to Glucosuria (glucose in urine). Research by a group at a Veterinary College in Virginia, suggests that UTIs are common in dogs with endocrine disorders such as hyperadrenocorticism, diabetes mellitus, or both. If your dog or cat suffers from pet diabetes oranother endocrine disorder regular screening for UTIs is highly recommended.

    Pet UTIs and struvite stones:

    Struvite crystals (triple phosphate and magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals) are commonly seen as a disease in dogs, however about 40-44% of healthy dogs have struvite crystals in their urinewithout obviousharm. However, in sufficient quantity, struvite crystals may cause bladder irritation and inflammation in the bladder lining and urethra- priming the urinary tract for infection.

    Struvite stones and Urinary Tract infections:

    Struvitecrystals become especially problematic if your dog also has a UTI. An estimated 98% of Struvite stones, capable of causing serious blockages in your dogs urinary tract, form when large amounts of struvite crystals are simultaneously present with a urinary tract infection from urease-producing bacteria, for example, Staphylococcus or Proteus. Urease, an enzyme, promotes the formation of ammonia and carbon dioxide and this in turn contributes to struvite stone formation as well as alkaline (high-pH) urine. Alkaline urine may also form when your pet has a diet high in grains and carbohydrates, common in dry commercial pet foods. Finding a way to check (pH strips) and control (diet and supplements) your dogs urine pH is therefore important.

    Research suggests that the majority of dogs affected by struvite stone formation and recurrent UTIs, are females. Because of the increasing overuse of antibiotics for treating UTIs, and resulting bacterial resistance, natural remedies that do not promote bacterial resistance, are the preferred way to prevent recurrent infections and by extension infection induced struvite stones. Dietary modifications to acidify your dogs urine can also be an additional strategy.

    Prevent UTIs and control urine pH naturally:

    One of the most effective natural remedies to prevent UTIs and control urine pH, is the small tart, red, cranberry. However in choosing a cranberry product for UTI prevention and urine acidification, keep in mind that neither cranberry juice, fresh cranberries or dried cranberries are concentrated enough, palatable and except for fresh cranberries, they are loaded with sugar. What is a good natural choice then ? Look for a food grade, organic cranberry extract, widely used by veterinarians in preventing recurrent UTIs and struvite crystals. Cranimals Original our #1 UTI supplement is clinically tested, is certified organic, 100% cranberry extract and is used in the USA, Canada, Taiwan and the UK by holistic vets.

    Complementary to the Cranimals Original UTI supplement, our diagnostic urine based test kits, can be used at home to screen for both UTIs, diabetes and kidney failure. For more info see our full lineup of UTI products.

  • Finally my dog Brooke's UTI was treated effectively and her past bladder infections have not returned - Interview with Jennifer Norato

    Cranimals: Jennifer welcome. You have a very special story to share and some health tips for pet owners based on your experience. Tell us what you do?Jennifer: I work here at Ramapo valley animal hospital in Oakland, NJ and I have been working here for over 10 years now. I first started during my college years as a part time job and quickly grew into a passion.
    We are a small practice that has steadily been growing through the years. We currently are in a new building and have 2 doctors that specialize in small animals, mostly dogs and cats. We are located in northern New Jersey, which is mostly suburban life but our pets do encounter a lot of wildlife.Cranimals: Tell us about your own pets and their health challenges?Jennifer: I have two dogs, a 6 year old hound mix and a 14 year old Pomeranian and 6 cats! A hazard of my occupation is that I raise abandoned kittens and many of them don’t leave my house! It has never been a challenge keeping 6 cats happy though! They all love each other and play all night long.My hound mix, Brooke, hasn’t been the healthiest though. I adopted her as an adult and fought her chronic ear and dog bladder infections from day one.My old man, Mako, has had the happiest life, but not the healthiest either. One of his legs was amputated almost 8 years ago and has suffered from multiple related health issues.Cranimals: What made you look into Cranimals and where did you find us?

    Jennifer: I first discovered Cranimals in a pet magazine, advertising the benefits of the original formula. It couldn’t have come at a better time!

    My Brooke was suffering from another dog bladder infections caused by her constant struvite crystals. Working at an animal hospital, I had every diagnostic and treatment at my disposal, but still she got infections. She had countless urine tests, blood work, cultures, x-rays, prescription foods, meds, and even ultrasounds but nothing could keep her from making struvite crystals in her bladder.

    And then I saw Cranimals! I, of course, had tried cranberry supplements before to help Brooke’s bladder, but this product immediately seemed different than the ones that failed in the past. I immediately placed an order and patiently waited for my shipment!

    Cranimals: What seemed different about Cranimals from all the other products and treatments you tried?

    Jennifer: I loved the science that is behind the claims of excellence. The Cranimals products didn’t just say it would benefit my dog’s bladder health, it explained how it would. As a pet owner, I loved that the Cranimals company detailed why this supplement was scientifically proven to work so I understood why it would work. Other products I tried didn’t seem to have any scientific backing to their claims.

    Cranimals: You mention it was painful to watch Brooke suffer – tell us about that?

    Jennifer: Dog Bladder infections most commonly cause symptoms of urinating frequently and in small amounts. It feels like they can’t empty their bladder so they always have the feeling that they need to urinate. But in Brooke’s case, she had struvite crystals, which physically made it painful to urinate. So much so that she would hold her urine as long as she could! She just didn’t want to urinate because she knew it was going to hurt. And that starts the vicious cycle of bacteria collecting in her bladder, creating an infection.

    Cranimals: Did she eat it with no fuss?

    Jennifer: Brooke, being a hound dog, loved the taste of the Cranimals Original. I initially mixed the Cranimals with some plain yoghurt, which she was already eating for the probiotic benefits. But as I used it more, I realized she loved the flavor no matter how I gave it to her!

    Cranimals: And Ramapo valley animal hospital now stock Cranimals?

    Jennifer: Yes, getting my colleges on board with this new product was a breeze! They saw me suffering constantly with Brooke’s bladder problems and were amazed with how quickly she felt better. After a month of being free of bladder problems, it was decided to recommend this product to all our patients with similar problems.

    Cranimals: What health tip do you have for other animal lovers?

    Jennifer: My best tip of advice is to use preventative medicine! It is always better for your pet and more affordable for you, to prevent a health problem than it is to treat one.

    I am able to prevent dog bladder infections for Brooke by giving her two teaspoons a day of Cranimals Original and have saved me thousands of dollars in vet bills, let alone the pain and discomfort that would come along with her infections.

    Cranimals: Thank you Jennifer and thank you Ramapo Valley Animal Hospital.

    Comments or new interview suggestions to madeleine@cranimal.com
  • How Cranimals began

    How Cranimals began

    The push to develop products for companion animals came from our CEO Wilma’s own dogs in Vancouver - Phoebe, who died of cancer a few years earlier and Charlie, a dog prone to anxiety. The Fraser Valley, based near Vancouver, wedged in between the Pacific Ocean and Rocky Mountains is quite possibly the best berry growing region in the World. Wilma had researched the role of nutrition in disease and behaviour and already knew these ingredients had tremendous health benefits.The CranimalsTM brand was born in 2008.

    At Cranimals we believe strongly in preventative health care and also nutritional medicine. The rise in chronic degenerative disease, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease, over the last few decades in both humans and companion animals is strongly tied to exercise, diet and environment. Most pets are now being raised on highly processed foods, and this includes kibble and dehydrated foods. It is widely accepted that the underlying cause of accelerated aging and degenerative disease is due in large part to oxidative damage and inflammation – countless studies have identified the importance of natural antioxidants (e.g. phytochemicals) and anti inflammatories (e.g. essential fatty acids) in helping to manage oxidation and inflammation. Many other modern pet illnesses including kidney & bladder stones and urinary tract infections are also on the rise. Our mission with the Cranimals line is to help pet parents deliver therapeutic levels of the key nutrients needed to manage or help prevent these problems. As they say...”prevention is better than cure”!

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