We have 3 dogs here in Puyallup, Wa and have been with Banfield for over 12 years. Over the course of that time we have definitely noticed the lack of training some of their staff seems to have, as well as communication issues.
I have really had to watch them like a hawk to be sure that what we were told by the doctor was what we got charged for, or a procedure that was supposed to be done was actually done. It seemed to be worth it since our monthly fee covers all vaccines, wellness exams, worming & teeth cleaning, as well as the bloodwork and anesthesia for the teeth cleaning. Now that our dogs are senior citizens we have run into a different kind of issue. Several months ago one of our dogs couldn't get up off the floor in the morning upon waking.
We immediately took him to our Banfield hospital and was politely turned away and told to take him to the emergency clinic 20 miles away. They said they just didn't have time for this kind of situation that day, (just a couple of x-rays for goodness sake!). Took him to the emergency clinic where they charge more than double anyone else, just to get x-rays to take back to Banfield. We called Banfield to make an appointment for the next day to go over the x-rays with the doctor.
By this time our dog was up and walking normally. He was diagnosed with spondylosis---his vertebrae are fusing together---and we were told that this same thing could happen again especially after too much vigorous activity. OK, no problem, but did we really have to go down this whole convoluted route just to get the x-rays and diagnosis? I chalked it up to typical Banfield antics.
Besides, when they print out your PAGES of receipts, there is a section that tells you how much you have now saved by being a member of the Banfield plan compared to what you would have been charged at another vet clinic. It's gotten to be a pretty impressive amount by now.
Now a few months have gone by and the same dog has swallowed a rock. He does this regularly and has had to have surgery once to remove the rock about 6 years ago at another clinic we went to briefly because I got so frustrated with Banfield. Since we have gone through this rock-swallowing routine quite a few times with this dog, I am recognizing that the rock is most likely stuck and may need to be removed again.
We take him to Banfield on Sunday, where they take x-rays and confirm "yes it is wedged and he needs surgery right away." The vet working that day, who is not the regular vet that we deal with, made this diagnosis, then proceeded to tell us that doing the surgery would require them to re-arrange their appointments and they probably couldn't do that so the surgery would not be done for 1-2 days. So let me get this straight..........you tell me this is urgent, then you tell me it won't be done for maybe 2 days because it's just not convenient. She simply would not commit to a course of action. How frustrating!
We took our dog home and monitored him through the night. He seemed to be fine if he didn't eat, but we could tell he just didn't feel well. The next day we called Banfield and talked to the receptionist, who told us "we don't do those kinds of surgeries here". HUH??
So we insisted on speaking with our regular doctor, who told us that they could do the surgery but he would have to be moved to the Animal Emergency Clinic after surgery because they don't keep patients overnight, and the dog would certainly need an overnight stay. So 3 different employees give us 3 different viewpoints on what can/can't be done. Not to mention the $2500 estimate which doesn't include staying at the emergency clinic! We immediately called the other clinic that had done this rock removal surgery before and they said they could see him that morning and would do the surgery later that afternoon.
I had forgotten how un-rushed this hospital is compared to Banfield. The staff was professional, thorough, thoughtful, and their high-end estimate of the cost was $1300. Since we had brought the x-ray CD with us that was taken at Banfield, the doctor suggested another x-ray because it had been 24 hours and we could see if the rock had moved. If it had surgery might not be needed after all.
Turns out she was right............the rock had painfully worked its way down to where it looked like it would be expelled that day. Now it is clear to me that Banfield is fine as a wellness clinic.........vaccines, nail trims, minor irritations.......but leave the major problems to a hospital that actually has the staff and facilities to deal with them.
Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Medical Service.