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Monthly Archives: December 2011

  • 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”!
  • Why Cranberries work as a natural treatment preventative for pets with UTIs and struvite stones By Dr Wilma Pretorius CEO Cranimals

    CranberriesThe most common signs of a UTI in cats and dogs is straining during urination, blood in the urine, fever, lethargy, unpleasant smell to urine, incontinence and urinating in inappropriate places, particularly for cats. Among the bacteria responsible for UTIs, E. coli was found to be present in most of the cases followed by Stapylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Klebsiella spp. , Proteus spp. and then Pseudomonas spp.

    Usually UTIs clear up after antibiotic therapy, but sometimes they recur, either due to reinfection with the same or another bacterial species. The appropriate antibiotic to be used is identified via a urine culture. Modern medicine is, however, plagued by a rising incidence of antibacterial resistance and comes with additional costs, such as adverse effects on gut microflora increasing the risk of infection with Clostridium difficile and this in turn may lead to serious colon infections in dogs. The use of a natural plant based preventative for UTIs and struvite stones would clearly help to reduce the risk of antibacterial resistance and disturbances in gut microflora.

    Most struvite stones in dogs are actually infection-induced and female dogs are at the greatest risk for this. The reason for this is likely due to the anatomy of the female urethra, which is short and wide compared with that of the male. When a UTI is caused by Staphylococcus spp. (less commonly Proteus spp. And Ureaplasma) bacteria, a biochemical reaction is put into play which favors the formation of struvite stones in the pets urine/bladder even if the pet is on an acidifying diet.

    Dogs typically develop struvite stones (uroliths) in their lower urinary tracts within 2 weeks of contracting a staphylococcal urinary tract infection. There are, however, other conditions that promote crystallization of magnesium ammonium phosphate (i.e. struvite) including an alkaline urine, diet and genetic predisposition. Breeds especially affected by struvite stones include the Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Yorkshire Terrier.  Even factors associated with inbreeding have been reported to increase the frequency of struvite uroliths in Beagles. An increased risk of struvite stones in both sexes of Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers has also been observed. Specific diets high in fat and salt that are given to dogs to help dissolve struvite stones have their own risks. Pathogenic bacteria trapped within the stones are then constantly released and pose a threat for reinfection and a diet high in fat and salt has its own set of health risks.  Surgical removal is another option for stone removal. Sometimes stones can become bigger than half a kilo (1 lb).

    One of the most effective natural remedies for Urinary tract infections and by association, infection induced struvite stones is cranberries. Cranberries contain tannins called (pro)anthocyanidins or PACs, which are stable plant compounds exhibiting potent in vitro anti-adhesion activity against pathogenic urinary tract bacteria such as both antibiotic-sensitive and -resistant strains of Escherichia coli. While preventing bacteria from sticking to the cell lining of the urinary tract is believed to be the primary mechanism, a direct mild antimicrobial activity against other UTI causing bacteria has also been reported. Pure cranberry extract powders are the most effective way to get the multiple health benefits of cranberries into your pet. Not only is the extract effective for preventing urinary tract infections and by implication infection induced struvite stones, but the phytochemicals in the berries are heart healthy and also good for dental health. Administering cranberry extract in powder form eliminates the excessive sugar found in juices and dried cranberries, as well the powder mixed in food coats the teeth and helps to keep the your pets mouth clean in exactly the same way it keeps their urinary tract “clean”. The powder is also much more palatable to your pet than fresh cranberries and delivers a much more concentrated dose of the needed phytochemicals. Look for a cranberry extract that is not adulterated with fillers, preservatives or colorants and one that is food grade and certified organic.

    References consulted:
    1. Urinary tract infection – a European perspective. B. Gerber,  EJCAP - Vol. 17 - Issue 1 April 2007, 51-54.
    2. Canine urolithiasis: A look at over 16 000 urolith submissions to the Canadian Veterinary Urolith Centre from February 1998 to April 2003 Doreen M. Houston, Andrew E.P. Moore, Michael G. Favrin, Brent Hoff. Can Vet J Volume 45, March 2004,  225-230.

    3. Recurrent urinary tract infections in older people: the role of cranberry products
    DEEPA SUMUKADAS1,∗, PETER DAVEY2, MARION E. T. MCMURDO1
    Age and Ageing 2009; 38: 255–257 C _ The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society.
    All rights doi: 10.1093/ageing/afp034 reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org
    4. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Basu, Rhone, Lyons. Nutr Rev. 2010 March ; 68(3): 168–177. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x.
    5. Potential oral health benefits of cranberry.
    Bodet CGrenier DChandad FOfek ISteinberg DWeiss EI. . Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Aug;48(7):672-80.

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