Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Diet For Cat with Kidney Disease

Q: Dear Susan: You helped me with one of my cats kidney disease -- my other cat now has early stage kidney disease. I have her on your kidney disease diet, but am looking for a very healthy cat food for cats with kidney disease. When I last talked to you, you mentioned that Royal Canin modified formula was okay. I notice, however, that it has wheat. Can you recommend a dry cat food for kidney disease that has no grains whatsoever? I notice there are some formulas on the market now with only chicken, vegetables and fruit. Also, can you share why cats with kidney issues can't eat meat or fish?
Thanks for your help.
Best regards,
Martha

A: From Susan Blake Davis, Pet Nutritionist: Cats with kidney disease need a modified protein diet with reduced phosphorus, rich in Omega 3s. Ideally, a diet with a high moisture content is preferred, thus if possible, using canned or raw food is preferable over using dry food. Fish, milk products and organ meats are especially high in phosphorous so it is best to minimize their content in your cat's diet. In giving you my dietary suggestion, I am only addressing one issue regarding your kitty--elevated kidney values. Many cats have inflammatory bowel syndrome, chronic UTIs and other concerns, in which case, this diet would not be appropriate. We always recommend scheduling a telephone or inperson appointment to ensure that the diet you use is the right one for your pet.


But, going by your question and assuming all else is fine with your cat, in early stage CRF, you can try Natural Balance venison or duck with green pea. These are not going to be as low in protein as prescription diets but they are hypoallergenic, grain-free and lower in phosphorous than other options. You can also try mixing some canned food with carbohydrates as we discussed previously during our consultation. Finally, by using supplements such as Protease, Renelix or our Cat Kidney Disease Package, you can improve your cat's overall kidney function, thus enabling them to still feel well and eat healthy foods.


Thanks for submitting a question Martha. We encourage our readers to please submit comments with questions and Dr. Gordon and I will be happy to answer them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cats with Interstitial Cystitis--Blood in Urine


Dear Dr Gordon: I am having a real problem with my cat. She is a 4 year old, spayed female calico cat. I adopted her later in life from one of my co-workers and she has always been a little stand offish. Lately, she has started to urinate outside the litter box and there is a small amount of blood in the urine. I have tried everything to discourage this. I have changed the litter. I have purchased an additional litter box. I have even contemplated letting her go outside during the day because she used to be an outdoor cat and now is completely confined to the indoors. She has been to the doctor several times and the doctor is able to give medication to stop the bleeding and accidents, but it always seems to return. What is your take on this? TR

Dr. David Gordon, Holistic Veterinarian: Well my answer is going to come as quite a surprise to the majority of readers of this column and even to some veterinary old timers.

There are many things that potentially could cause bloody urine in your cat, and those should definitely be ruled out before proceeding. These include stones in the bladder, crystal plugs, bacterial infection, and congenital defects of the urinary system (like a persistent urachal remnant). But, given the age of the cat and the living circumstances, there is an excellent chance none of the potential causes listed above is the culprit. In fact, less that 1% of cats in this age group have bloody urine due to infection.

It is essential to use Notatum drops for your cat to help her feel better. Notatum drops helps reduce inflammation due to stress.

Well, if infection was not at fault, what was causing the bloody urine. Many hypotheses came forth by veterinary researchers in the field. Some doctors thought there was some mysterious viral disease that caused most of these cats to develop bloody urine. Others thought these cats must have some sensitivity to something in the environment, and this type of allergic reaction was causing the bloody urine. But we now know that these cats are not getting better because the antibiotics are making them better. It is true that veterinarians have been prescribing antibiotics and doing urine cultures on these cats for years and the cats invariably got better. The latest information reveals that the cats were getting better despite being put on the antibiotics.

We now know that most of these cats suffer from a malady that many women suffer from, called interstitial cystitis. By examining the interior of the bladder wall of affected cats, it was discovered that there were focal points of hemorrhage that mirrored what was being seen in these women suffering from a similar syndrome. Not only that, but the bladder wall was extremely inflamed.

The current theory is that STRESS is the underlying factor in the cat’s interstitial cystitis problem. Stress perceived by the cat causes the release of neurotransmitters that adversely affect different organs. In susceptible cats, this organ is the bladder wall. Once inflammation sets in, the bladder wall, in essence, loses its’ integrity and there is leakage of urine within the layers of the bladder wall itself. Urine is a very irritating substance, and the leakage of this urine further perpetuates the inflammation and leads to focal areas of hemorrhage.

Cats suffering from this syndrome have frequent attempts to pass urine, and this is invariably bloody. These cats are very painful and most women that have interstitial cystitis will attest to that. Cats may associate this pain with their litter boxes and could be urinating outside the box because they are associating the litter box with pain.

It makes sense then that to treat interstitial cystitis in women and cats, that the patient should respond to anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and analgesic medications. That is, in fact, the types of treatment that has been shown to be the most effective. Some cats will have repeated episodes of this over the course of their lifetimes but usually relief and amelioration of symptoms will occur with the above mentioned medications. Many cats have responded quite favorably to supplements that help reduce inflammation, most notably, we have had excellent success using Notatum drops for kitties with interstitial cystitis. Amazing Omegas act as an anti-inflammatory. Power Probiotic has been helpful as well. In addition, sometimes dietary changes, and reducing foods that can cause potential allergens (e.g. grains, chicken) has also been especially beneficial.

How can we prevent this from occurring in susceptible cats? Provide many litter boxes and clean them daily in addition to trying to eliminate stress. That is easier said, than done because each cat is probably being stressed out by his or her own individual circumstances. Is it the neighbors loud rock and roll band? Is it the construction going on outside? Is it the neighbor’s barking dog? Are outdoor cats that your indoor cat can see teasing?

Some veterinarians also hypothesize that there is a certain group of cats that feel frustrated, unfulfilled, and downright bored with their sedentary lifestyles that we offer. Providing these cats with play time and stimulating their hunting and predatory instincts can help alleviate their frustration and boredom.

Patience and understanding is the key to living with these cats.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Seizures and Allergies--Is there a link?

Q: My 10 year old GSP started having seizures and tremors just in the past week. The vet has ruled any Lyme disease and her blood work shows that her liver and kidneys are fine. She has been on the steroid Temril P for several years to control chronic allergies. My husband is concerned about her suffering more seizures and the vet has prescribed phenobarbitol. I am very hesitant to start giving her this. I am wondering if there are any supplements or diet changes we could try 1st.
September 24, 2009 2:22 PM

A: So sorry to hear your dog is having seizures and tremors. I know how frightening this must be to witness. It is terribly upsetting to see our beloved pets experience seizures and tremors. There is a lot you can do to help your dog from a natural, holistic standpoint. You are right to be concerned about rushing to use medications when you may not have explored all of the natural options first.

We work with many patients that have epilepsy and seizures and there is a definite link with allergies. Food allergies can definitely be a trigger for seizures. No question--feeding a hypoallergenic diet free of preservatives, byproducts, artificial ingredients can help any pet, especially when a dog is having seizures. While some dogs have such severe allergies that after exhausting every possibility of using holistic care (e.g. changing to a low carbohydrate, hypoallergenic diet and using supplements such as Amazing Omegas, Myco-zyme, Notatum, Proaller) and still no improvement in allergy symptoms (unlikely.....)....then the use of a steroid-antihistamine drug long-term such as Temoril P may be warranted. But, too often, in my experience, there is a rush to find a quick fix for the itching and unfortunately pet owners like yourself end up committing your dog to a long-term program of medications that can have side effects. It would be highly advisable for you at this point to consider speaking to a holistic veterinarian or scheduling a telephone consultation with Dr. Gordon and myself to learn what you can do to help your dog. There are many treatment options we can teach you about but without reviewing your medical records and speaking to you in depth, it is hard to know the exact regimen that would be best for your dog. We can offer you an enhanced diet to address your dog's allergies and seizures, detoxification supplements and other treatment alternatives that will help. Seizures are a symptom that your dog's body may be overloaded with toxins and and while using medications such as phenobarbital to treat the symptoms may be necessary as a last resort for quality of life, you first need to stop exposing your dog to chemicals and allergens that are possible triggers. Thus, you need to look at both conventional alternatives (for treating symptoms) as well as holistic veterinary treatments which will help improve your dog's health and address the underlying health issues.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cat with chronic UTIs--does diet matter?

Q: My 7 year old cat (Tiki) get chronic UTIs. I feed her fancy feast canned food. Is there another food that would be better? I heard food can be a problem.

A: This is an excellent question. There is a definite link to pets getting chronic UTIs and diet. One of the links is food allergies and inflammation. Your kitty may be eating a high quality food, even organic but could be allergic to it. In addition, there are many hidden low quality ingredients found in pet food which could be a culprit too. These include grains, byproducts, chemicals, preservatives, wheat, gluten--you name it. So....the first step is to look carefully at what is really in your pet's food and clean up your pet's diet. I prefer hypoallergenic diets that have "novel protein" such as venison or rabbit. Also, be sure there are no grains in the diet. I have seen tremendous success in resolving chronic UTIs using raw food diets along with the supplements.  The most important supplement program that will start to help immediately is the veterinary-recommended Pet UTI Prevention Package that allows you to order from a selection of research based products.

Diets too high in carbohydrates break down into sugar and can also contribute to yeast overgrowth. Wheat and grains, for example can be high allergen foods and also contribute to yeast growth. Also, kibble and/or dry food can be problematic for both cats and dogs because of its low moisture content.There is no “one” hypoallergenic diet that works for all pets but trying one with rabbit or venison is a good start. Scheduling a telephone consultation with us or another veterinary professional can also be helpful if you feel you need assistance getting your kitty on the right track once and for all.

Nutritional supplements can greatly help reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections and in some cats in combination with diet changes, can eliminate them completely. Be sure to talk in depth with your veterinarian to understand the issues associated with your cat'surinary infections. For example, are there crystals present, very high pH or is the urine pH acidic? In terms of supplements, Ask Ariel has a comprehensive pet UTI prevention program. The Pet UTI Prevention Formula is excellent for cats and dogs that get chronic UTIs and who have a tendency to have high urinary pH as the product helps to acidify the urine (contains cranberry and Vitamin C). The Probiotic and Renelix are helpful for all types of urinary support. Finally, for tough infections, Notatum and Samento have always been especially helpful for cats with chronic urinary tract infections (UTIS).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Post Questions About Holistic Pet Care Here


Got a question about your pet? Please take this opportunity to submit a question about your pet. We will do our best to try to answer it. Just post your question as a "comment" on this Holistic Vet and Pet Nutrition Journal.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obese Labrador Lost 44 lbs in 6 Months



Pictured above are before/after pictures of our beloved Daisy who has now happily living in her forever home. Look at how beautiful she looks--what a shiny coat. Daisy now weighs a svelte 74 pounds--down from 118 pounds when she was rescued. Thanks to our dear Karen, head volunteer for Ariel Rescue, who dedicated countless hours to walking and caring for Daisy to help her become the dog she is today. Daisy was so obese (upper photo) that she couldn't even wear a collar because it would fall off. Her coat was so dull (she has hypothyroidism) that it looked like steel wool. Just 4 months later and look at her now! Daisy is an inspiration for all of us--if she can lose all that weight and start her life over--surely we all can!

It is essential to use Amazing Omegas to help your pet feel better. Amazing Omegas provides immediate help for itching, scratching, dog dandruff, skin problems and many other pet health conditions.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Insomnia and Menopause

I just have to share my joy this morning upon arising and getting a really good night's sleep. It is such a wonderful "gift" as I am going through menopause which can really wreak havoc on your sleep. I have tried a number of products for sleep but depending upon what is going on, some work better than others. While each of us is different, I thought it might be helpful to provide a run down of some of the products I have tried to see if they might work for you. Please be sure to work with your physician or naturopathic doctor since usually some type of hormone or herbal hormone support is needed. For example, I also use a progesterone cream that contains phytoestrogens (e.g. red clover, dong quai, etc)

BioAdreno---You take this in the am. Bioadreno is really helpful IF you are suffering from adrenal exhaustion. The product is stimulating so definitely not something you would take at night. Symptoms of adrenal exhaustion--waking up in the morning and still feeling so very tired, lethargic during the day, feeling like "Stop the world I want to get off", feeling edgy and about to snap (we all know what that is like!), waking up in the middle of the night....That is what this product is good for. You can take in the am and then usually you get a better night's sleep after a few days.

Adrenacalm All I can say is "Aaaaah....adrenacalm". This product is a great 'ol standby for getting to sleep. It contains primarily phosphatidyl serine which has many benefits including brain support and help for anxiety. When we are stressed, our cortisol levels rise. Many times when you wake up in the middle of the night, it can be because your cortisol levels are elevated. So, you can keep this by your nightstand and IF that is the reason you are waking up, this will work. If it is not due to the elevated cortisol levels, then it might help anyway because it does contain some herbs to take the edge off. But since it is a very gentle product, sometimes it is not enough. And...remember it is not a sleep remedy per se, it is to help combat the deliterious effects of stress (and high cortisol) levels on the body. And.....sometimes waking up in the middle of the night can also be related to blood sugar regulation too.

Phosphatidyl Serine--Phosphatidyl serine is a wonderful nutrient that becomes especially beneficial for us as we get older. We use it for dogs with Cushing's Syndrome and it really helps reduce the effects of excess cortisol right away. Phosphatidyl serine (PS) is a nutrient essential for optimal brain function. Because PS is crucial for the overall health of brain cells, research on PS has shown that it benefits a wide range of brain activities such as mental focus, memory recall, and performance on tasks.

Phosphatidylserine occurs as a normal component of cell membranes. It is the major phospholipid in the brain. Phosphatidylserine enhances cell membrane fluidity, which improves cellular metabolism. This will improve neuronal communication, and strengthen memory and learning. Oral supplementation of phosphatidylserine has been shown to increase memory and learning, and has positive effects on the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin, and dopamine-depressed patients. Phosphatidylserine has been shown to help establish normal down-regulation of cortisol secretion in chronically stressed individuals. So.....what has often worked for my insomnia when I am stressed is to take Phosphatidyl Serine along with the Adrenacalm. Phos Serine is one of those substances where you need to be REALLY careful where it comes from. I like the brand on www.AskAriel.com
because it is third party tested for potency and purity.

Sure hope this helps!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Canine Cancer Supplements and Holistic Care

Getting a diagnoses of canine cancer can be devastating. You might feel helpless that there is nothing you can do to stop the cancer. Dogs with cancer can greatly benefit from holistic care which includes dietary changes, acupuncture, nutritional supplements and other alternative modalities. Holistic veterinary care for dogs with cancer is not meant to replace conventional veterinary care but rather is intended to accompany it. Clients often ask "My pet has been diagnosed with cancer--will this help?" If your dogs is still having a good quality of life, as many dogs are at the beginning stages, then giving them good nutrition and vitamins could make a signficant difference.

Another misconception is that if your pet is undergoing chemotherapy, that using alternative supplements is not an option. Many of our patients are undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation along with administering nutritional supplements and have fared especially well. Some of the supplements we recommend such as OncoPet and Immune Harmony provide support and enable the dog to handle the medication better.

Some key objectives in using nutritional supplementation for cancer are:
1) Supportive care for digestion (many dogs with cancer have digestive issues)
Soothing Digestive Relief, Probiotic
2) Supportive care for the organs affected (e.g. liver support supplements if the pet has liver cancer)
3) Immune system support Immunitone
4) Detoxification to help release toxins Detoxification Kit
5) Antioxidants to neutralize free radicals (limited use with approval from your veterinarian if undergoing chemotherapy/radiation) Oxicell
You can find detailed information about dogs with cancer and how these products might help on Ask Ariel's cancer page: In addition, you might also consider scheduling a consultation with a pet nutritionist or holistic veterinarian regarding your dog's diet as dogs with cancer have very special dietary needs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ask Ariel In The News!

This appeared in the OC Register today Sept. 14th:

Maryanne Dell: A couple of good things not to miss
September 11th, 2009, 2:12 pm · Post a Comment · posted by Samantha Gowen, Pet Tales editor
I love a good cause. If I can give some time or money knowing I’m helping improve the world, I’m all for it. And I’m especially for it if I get to learn something while I’m helping a worthy organization.
Two upcoming events do just what I’m talking about: Attendees get to learn something and help animals.
Sept. 26: Ask Ariel is sponsoring Natural Cures for Pets in Lake Forest. The session by Susan Blake Davis, a certified clinical nutritionist, and veterinarian David Gordon packs a lot into a short time.
Davis, owner of Ask Ariel, consults with clients and veterinarians about nutrition and holistic care for pets. Full disclosure: Gordon is my vet. I started seeing him in 2001, when my dog Taylor had been diagnosed with bone cancer and I wanted to do acupuncture.
Acupuncture proved to be an excellent complementary medicine to the chemotherapy Taylor underwent for his osteosarcoma; we would leave the oncologist’s office after one of his 24-hour chemo treatments and head straight to Gordon’s office, where 20 minutes of acupuncture would restore Taylor’s appetite and vitality.
I met Davis through her rescue, Ariel Rescue, and knew I had met a kindred spirit. We talk the same health language, a language I believe every pet owner needs to hear, about the benefits of a high-quality diet.
Natural Cures for Pets is a perfect introduction to holistic care. In addition to Davis’ information about the importance of nutrition, Gordon will discuss acupuncture and other alternative and complementary treatment procedures, such as chiropractic and stem-cell treatment, in which an animal’s stem cells are used to treat diseases such as arthritis.
You can contact Maryanne Dell via e-mail at ocrpets@earthlink.net
Cost is $15, a worthy investment in the health of your pets, and includes refreshments. It’s best to reserve a spot, so e-mail askariel1@gmail.com or call 949-499-9380 and leave a message (even if you decide to attend at the last-minute, you’re asked to call the phone number).
The event will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Gordon’s practice, VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital, 1 S. Pointe Drive, Lake Forest 92660. And, you’ll be doing good: 100 percent of the proceeds go to Ariel Rescue, which helps homeless animals throughout Southern California.More information: askariel.com.
———————–

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dog Licking Genitals and Groin Area--Response to Question

Q: I have never seen anything like this before!!! My female dog has what looks like welts on her vagina and urethra . They are not filled with puss or fluid at least they don't look like they are. She is constantly licking it. I have put neosporin on it but I am really worried.Does anybody know what it could be??

A: Dr. Gordon and I reviewed your question and wanted to advise you to please take your dog ASAP to the veterinarian. It could be caused by a number of different issues and most likely is a sign of infection and inflammation. Your dog is licking it because she is experiencing pain and discomfort. We all try to avoid having to run to the veterinarian for every little thing but this is an instance where a veterinary visit is warranted. A veterinarian will examine your pet's area and speak to you in depth to determine if your pet has had contact with certain substances, medical history, etc. While we wish it could be, email is just not a good substitute for seeing and examining the patient.

Once you have a definitive diagnoses, we will be happy to provide you with some suggestions on what you can do from a holistic standpoint. If it is caused by allergies, we can certainly recommend a change of diet. Click here to schedule a consultation with our nutritionist, Susan Davis. Supplements such as Notatum and Power Probiotic can be found on www.AskAriel.com
will help as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dog Has Gas and Bloating

Q: My dog Lilly has gas and bloating. I can hear her tummy rumbling at night after she eats. Her stomach makes all kinds of noises and her tummy bloats up like a balloon. She is such a cute dog but can clear the room with her gas. I have tried switching her food and am using a food for sensitive stomach but it doesn't seem to help. Is there anything I can try? Liz in Wisconsin

A: Absolutely. When pets have rumbling noises in their tummy and gas and bloating, it is an indication of poor digestion. They can have digestive upset for a variety of reasons:
food allergies, being older in age and having less enzymes available to digest the food, food intolerance, poor quality of food. Since there are so many factors involved, it is optimal to speak with a veterinary professional. At AskAriel.com we do offer telephone consultations to help pet owners develop a custom diet that will work for Lilly. Each pet is different so there isn't a magic formula that works for everyone. Chicken is often a culprit for many pets however. Also, grains such as wheat, corn and barley can cause allergic reactions including inflammation in your dog's intestinal tract. For starters, you need to get Lilly on a hypoallergenic diet. Also, supplements such as Soothing Digestive Relief and Probiotic + Pet Colostrum will help greatly too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pet Nutrition Seminar to Benefit Homeless Animals




Natural Cures For Pets

September 26, 2009

10:00 am -11:30 am

100% of Proceeds to Benefit Homeless Pets


Help your pet feel better and live longer using natural holistic care. Learn about pet nutrition, acupuncture, chiropractic and nutritional supplements. If your pet has been suffering from chronic allergies, urinary tract infections, arthritis, skin problems and other health issues, learn how optimal pet nutrition and holistic veterinary care can help!


Location: VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital
1 South Pointe Drive
Lake Forest, Ca 92660

Class Fee: $15 per person (Refreshments included!)
100% of proceeds donated to Ariel Rescue

How to Register: LIMITED SEATING—PLEASE RESERVE SPACE NOW
Call: 949-499-9380 and leave message
Email: askariel1@gmail.com

Speakers:
Dr. David Gordon, Holistic Veterinarian
Medical Director, VCA Arroyo


Susan Blake Davis, Pet Nutritionist
http://www.askariel.com/

Please visit http://www.askariel.com/ for more information or call 949-499-9380.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chronic UTIs and Dogs Licking Genital Area

Thank you so much for submitting a question to our blog. We welcome questions and are happy to help you.

Q: My female dog also licks her vaginal area a lot and barks likes she's in pain. I've taken her to the vet several times and they just tell me she has mild bladder infection. They give me an antibiotic and send me on my way. It might clear up for a little while but then it comes right back. These trips and medication get expensive. Any suggestions to clear this up? Types of dog food? I've heard of apple cider vinegar? Thanks in advance. -Joy
September 2, 2009 3:34 PM

Response: This is a common problem. When female dogs are licking at their genital area chronically, it is typically because they either have yeast overgrowth (just like human women!) or a urinary tract infection (UTI). Your veterinarian will give you antibiotics but many times, the infection just comes right back. This is because the bad bacteria grows back faster than the good bacteria. The good bacteria helps your pet's immune system to fight off infection. What can you do to improve your pet's immune system and get the infection under control?
1) Change diets--use a low carbohydrate diet such as a raw food diet
2) Use supplements to help rebalance the flora: Our Pet UTI Prevention Package includes a full spectrum of supplements to help your dog ward off UTIs for good including Pet UTI Prevention Formula (herbs to fight off UTIs), Power Probiotic, Notatum (boosts immune function and fights infection) and Amazing Omegas (reduces inflammation)
3) Reduce inflammation which is causing the infection to recur in the first place by avoiding key allergens such as wheat (found in dog biscuits) and peanut butter.

We have helped hundreds of pet owners get rid of UTIs for good! It is natural to feel discouraged but until you have tried the full low carbohydrate, hypoallergenic diet program along with the supplements, you won't see the results you are hoping for.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Female Dog Licks Groin and Vaginal Area

Response to Anne in Ohio

Q: My girl dog licks her vaginal area and I have brought her to the vet and he said to just wipe with baby wipes....is there anything else I can do? She scratches and itches a lot and I am using a good brand of dog food--Nutromax. Anne in Ohio

A: When female dogs are licking at the vaginal area, there are usually two key culprits:
a urinary tract infection or yeast. Sometimes female dogs have anatomical issues where there are folds or excess hair in the area which can be irritants but most commonly it is yeast or a UTI. Ariel, my beloved husky mix, had this chronic licking of the vaginal area and I brought her from vet to vet. The vets told me to use baby wipes and other creams and nothing helped. Then, I gave her antifungal supplements to fight yeast and the problem immediately stopped. Unfortunately she was already 10 years old when I discovered this!

In general, carbohydrates such as grains, wheat, gluten, rice, etc. can cause dogs to have allergic reactions. Nutromax contains a high percentage of carbhohydrates. You need to find a dog food that is fresh and lower in carhohydrates--grain free. Try Natures Variety raw or instinct canned. Kibble again, is more of a "convenience" food and isn't fresh and can promote yeast growth.

In addition to making dietary changes, you need to put your dog on the following supplements routinely: Power Probiotic, Mycozyme and Pet UTI Prevention Formula. A fish oil supplement such as Amazing Omegas would help greatly. Click here to learn more about the products.