Phoenix, Arizona
4 comments

We brought our cat to Banfield and it was a huge mistake.

She was having some bowel issues and it seemed like she was in pain, so we made an appt at the Banfield/Petsmart near our house. The first person who saw Kitty clearly had no idea about animals. He tried to take Kitty's temp with the ear thermometer but didn't know how it worked. When he pulled out the rectal thermometer we explained why it might not be a great idea. He went and fetched a different ear thermometer and couldn't figure out how to work that one either. Either this guy was poorly trained or else all of the thermometers at the hospital don't work. Finally, and at the cat's great discomfort, we took her temp rectally.

After about half an hour, we finally saw the vet. She hardly listened to our description of the cat's symptoms, and immediately ordered an expensive round of blood and urine tests. She also told us to buy several medicines which would "help" our cat, regardless of what illness she had. When the vet said that she wanted to "run some blood work," we imagined that she would draw blood there on the examining table. We had no idea what would be involved, or that it would shortly lead to the end of our kitty's life.

In retrospect, any good vet – any decent person, really – would have recommended that we take our old cat home and try the meds. Maybe in a couple days she'd feel better, and if not then we would know that something major was wrong and we could make our choice from there. The vet could have said that "the test will be more stressful than letting the illness run its course – let's wait a few days." Instead, she ordered the testing and we felt compelled to go along with it.

She put our cat in a cage in a room with other animals in cages and left us to wait. About 20 minutes later, we looked through the window of another room and saw a horrible sight. Our cat was lying ON THE FLOOR, muzzled and surrounded by four or five employees, who were holding her down. Feeling somewhat upset by the sight, we waited anxiously for the vet to return. When she finally did, she said that they were unable to get a urine sample, and that the cat was a bit stressed out. They left her in that cage for another half hour to "de-stress."

It turns out that the reason they couldn't get a urine sample was because they scared the cat so badly that she peed on herself. I can only guess how she ended up on the floor, or why it took four people to hold one declawed, old cat still. We had originally explained that the cat is 14 and she has pretty bad arthritis. A jump/fall from the operating table would have been quite rough on her. Sure enough, when we got her home she couldn't put any weight on one leg. She can't crouch to eat, and she flops over instead of lying down normally. These are completely new symptoms, and when we called the vet to ask about them, she said it was probably a blood vessel that ruptured. I'm fairly certain that is a lie.

Since her traumatic visit to Banfield, our cat has hardly gotten up to eat or use the litter box. We are planning to have her put to sleep tomorrow, but certainly not at Banfield. The people who work there are poorly trained and have no respect for the fact that people care about their pets a lot. Banfield just wants your money – they don't care about your animals.

Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Medical Service.

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Anonymous
#100141

I am extremely sorry to hear about your kitty, but being a LVT (yes, I went to school & took national boards) and working in a vet clinic for years (NOT Banfield), I have to say that most of the tests that the doctor recommended were just the minimum my clinic would have recommended!

What kind of 'bowel' problems was your kitty having? Diarrhea, incontinence, not passing, straining? There are SO many diseases that cause bowel issues that the doctor was covering all bases. Why play "let's see if this works" instead of doing the tests in the first place? Some times, if you are lucky, prescribed meds work without a hitch, but most of the time, you have to continue to go back to try different meds and do the testing anyways!

By law, every pet that walks into a clinic must have their temp taken (even if it's for a nail trim!). Ear therms will work, but not give an accurate temperature. Rectal is the most efficient way to get this done. An elevated temp may tell the doctor of more of an underlying problem that may be lurking.

Blood work is imperative of any animal that is sick. Usually a CBC (WBC count, platelet count, etc.) & an internal organ function (liver/kidney values) will be ran. Even if you think they are not important, those results can tell us if pain/gastrointestinal issues/renal or hepatic issues are causing the bowel problems and help us determine a diagnosis and what other tests/meds should be ran or prescribed.

Most doctors I have worked for will not prescribe any meds without running blood work first. Say your kitty had early stages of renal failure that was causing the diarrhea. Some medications are contraindicated for animals in renal failure and can actually make the problem worse and can speed up the process of the failure. Most pain meds are excreted by the liver or kidneys and if those are the underlying problems, it could exacerbate the damage by putting the kitty in even more pain than before. The medications shouldn't have even been offered to you until that blood work came back!

With the way they handled your cat while collecting urine is a bit excessive. IMO, you shouldn't have to fight with an animal to do any tests!! In my clinic, we always have at least 3 people working with one animal when we collect urine. And we always muzzle the animal, no matter how sweet they are! When collecting urine, most of the time it's not easy to wait for an animal to urinate, so we do a cystocentesis. The animal is stretched out on its back with one person holding the front legs, another holding the hind legs and the 3rd person palpating the abdomen to find the bladder and a needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into the bladder to collect the urine. This is the most sterile way to get the best sample possible.

The one thing I LOVE about the clinic I work in, is that we explain WHY we are doing the tests and try to explain everything in layman's terms that people will understand. I know that before I got into this field, I would ask a doctor a question and would get medical-mumbo-jumbo and not understand a word they would say! It sounds like this vet did that to you, and I apologize for them! And, if you ask for the testing to be done in the room, most doctors comply and don't mind collecting blood/urine in front of you. :)

I hate hearing about incompetent vets & staff, it makes people look at our industry in such a negative light! Good luck in the future, and I hope that the next vet you visit will be more helpful and explain things a bit better!

Anonymous
#65605

I must agree with all of the negative comments I have heard regarding Banfield. Their treatment of animals is poor and they attempt to bill the consumer as much as possible.

The vets there are neither knowledgeable nor pleasant. I took my kitten to Banfield for annual vaccines. As a first time cat owner I was unsure of what to expect. They gave the kitten a slew of vaccines, so many that he went into shock and had to be given steroids, which have since made his stomach very sensitive.

I brought him back on only two occasions after that incident. A few days after his second appointment there, we discovered he had fleas and a few days after the third appointment, we found he had ear mites. My kitty is an indoor only cat and my husband and I do not have any other pets nor are we around any other pets. I am very concerned that my cat got these parasitic diseases FROM Banfield.

Since the last time we took him to Banfield (over a year ago) I am pleased to report that he has been in good health. I would stay away!

Anonymous
#65549

Yes, I agree with regards to the money thing. I took my six year old cat to a Banfield clinic at Pet Smart.

Basically they did nothing. $46.00 to walk through the portals I say. My cat's eye was swollen shut. I noticed this on Sat.

afternoon. On Sunday it was the same. I used some antibacterial ointment for the eye which was prescribed for my German Shepherd a year ago. By Monday, the eye looked much better, but we did not want to continue treatment without approval.

The receptionist and the nurse were very very nice. When the nurse presented me with the list of things to do regarding the eye, the bill came to $150.00. This bill was presented before the eye was ever even looked at. Totally going the whole nine yards right of the bat.

I said I would rather continue the ointment as the eye was improving. If the eye did not improve, I would like to come back. The Vet said that would be another $33.00 for the second visit. Another $33.00 to walk through the door.

I said ok. The vet then said," let me see that ointment". She said, I do not recommend anyone using any medication on one animal that has been prescribed for another. Then she reluctantly said, "although, the most probable treatment would have been that exact ointment.

She was clearly aggravated. She made me an appt. for me to come back in a week. I will not go back there.

For $45.00 the vet never even looked at the eye with the proper light. That was extra. I went there for the eye. One would think the vet would at least look at the eye with the eye light tool.

I told the receptionist I would not be back and that for $46.00 I received absolutely nothing. She was very apologetic. I told her it was not her fault but the company she works for. This receptionist was probably the most happy, friendly person I ever met.

She has to be to work there. Banfield needs someone like her . I can only guess the no. of irate customers that place must encounter.

My kitties eye is all better. I suggest one go to an independent animal doctors office.

This place is a rip. I saw it coming but still left with my wallet $46.00 lighter.

Anonymous
#65478

I work at a Banfield and I have to say that I am very sorry about your experience. That something like this should have happened to your baby is unspeakable.

It sounds like this particular vet didn't give two *** and I totally agree with all of your points, and I'm going to be honest. The corporation IS in it for the money, and for the most part, they really don't care.

HOWEVER, although I do feel you have a more than legitimate complaint, there are tons of employees of Banfield that really, really do care about animals, myself included. Again, I'm very sorry about your kitty and I hope that you find a better vet in the future.