I've recently moved back to Orange County, Ca and am looking for a new vet. My 7.5 yr. old Cavalier has SM, a level 3 heart murmur, dry eyes and some allergies.
Although I'm looking for someone local, I'm also interested in opinions from all owners about treatment of these conditions from both traditional and holistic vets, particularly for the symptoms of SM. As a person that's benefited from acupuncture and physical therapies, I've wondered about similar things for my dog.
In looking for a vet years ago I ran across a wide variety of skills and "bedside manners" - within the office that was my dog's eventual vet one vet was great and the other was a bit of a bully that regularly knocked the treatment of his office colleague as wrong. The last time I had to see the bully vet he tried to force a new series of ten(!) medications on my Cavvy, eventhough the other doc and I had tried some of them before. Also, as much as I liked my old vet, I had to educate him on SM because there were no specialists local to my old location. These are the things I'm trying to avoid- my little guy is getting on in years and he doesn't have the time or health to go to a vet that's not familiar with his conditions or Cavaliers in general.
I've noticed over the years that I've had my Cav (6 yrs, got him as an 18 month old) - that he does better with less medication but I'm also realistic about his health necessities- things like his eye drops have had a huge positive impact on his eye health and comfort. As he ages, the SM has clearly impacted his ability to play and jump and that's made me curious about alternative therapies to improve his quality of life. I'm also concerned about vets who throw lots of meds at every dog they see to see what sticks. Not only do I want a vet that is better at diagnosis and treatment of his whole condition, but I also can't afford to have hundreds of dollars in medication that does no good and has too many side effects.
He has seen a veterinary neurologist and had an MRI about three years ago and that person is here in OC as well. She's someone I've considered contacting for a referral, but I wanted to first pick the minds of locals who also love their health challenged Cavs and want to keep them healthy and happy as long as possible.