I brought my 5 year old Pug in just over a month ago for his vaccinations, as well as a few lumps on his belly and rear end that were of concern. I am fairly new to Banfield, and have only taken my other dog (a 15 year old Chow)in for treatment of lupus. I have been working with Dr. Jordan with both of my dogs, and he seems like a knowledgeable and empathetic Dr. He treated my Chow beautifully, as he is living out his golden years quite comfortably. Let me mention that due to my own disables status, finances are very tight right now, but I do the absolute best I can to care for my animals. Anyhow, when I first brought Yoda in to discuss the lumps, it was determined that he had mast-cell tumors. We discussed possibly treatments that I could budget for, but the nurse did talk me into signing up for the wellness plan. Thinking that we could possibly get the tumors taken care of, this wouldn't be a bad idea for overall care. Anyhow, I hadn't yet been able to schedule the removal of his tumors, and my Pug fell quite ill a few days ago. Head tilt, lethargy, etc... I took him in immediately, and the Dr. suspected an inner ear infection. Considering the mast tumors, there's always a possibility of spreading, however - the overall signs at the time didn't indicate that it was tumor related. They sent me home with antibiotics and special calorie dense food to feed him. He would eat, but only by hand and I had to work to get him to drink. The following day, he declined, so I brought him back in. This was yesterday. Dr. Jordan suggested - and I agreed - to go ahead and keep him overnight for IV fluids and antibiotics. We went to visit my dog at 6:30pm last night, and he seemed a bit perkier, but overall lethargic (although he had just come out of anesthesia). I spoke with another Dr. this morning (Dr. Jordan was not in today) to see how me was. At 9:30am, he seemed to be improving, and they expected that I could take him home that afternoon (wanted to watch him for the rest of the day). I didn't hear from them in the afternoon, so I called at 3:00pm to see how he was. I was told by the front desk girl that he was ready to go and I could come pick him up. My 7 year old son and I were very excited that he was going know, assuming that he responded well to the fluids. Upon arrival, we were asked to wait and they'd let the staff in the back know we were there (please bear in mind, at this point, they knew I was there only with only my 7 year old son). Prior to putting me in a room, they had me satisfy my bill. They then put us in a room, where, after waiting nearly 5 minutes, the Dr. came in and told us, with no regard that I had a child with me, that Yoda was not doing well and that he was being kept alive on oxygen. I am trying to hold in tears as to not alarm my son, but was disarmed, not knowing how to proceed with him in the room and I couldn't send him out into the store on his own. The Vet proceeded to tell me that when they took him outside to "go potty", he was still ill-responsive and was very unsteady on his feet. He then noticed flickering in his eyes, and was certain, at this indication, that we were dealing with a brain tumor rather than an infection (particularly since he didn't respond to the antibiotics). As hard as I tried, I became hysterical along with my son, and had to call a neighbor to come meet me there so she could care for my son while I handled the issue with my dog. My husband was still about 30 minutes out, trying to make it as quickly as he could. My neighbor and son waited outside while my other neighbor sat with me as I held my dog, having him die in my arms. Please know that this complaint is not that I am dissatisfied with the overall care my dog received. Dr. Jordan is a fine Vet. I am absolutely appalled and shocked that they would "prepare" me to take my dog home, see that I have a small child in tow upon arrival, put on a perfect poker face to collect my money, and have me enter a room with a little boy expecting to take his dog home to only have the Vet come in and tell us he's dying. Had I been given any indication that the vet "needed to discuss something with me", I would have left my son with family or friends. By the time my husband arrived, our dog had already moved on. He was livid that my son was present, and let the staff know his feelings. Losing a pet is part of loving them, and I understand that, but the extra trauma put upon me to have my son learn the news in a way I would have never exposed him to amplifies my grief. Plus, I am now reading stories with the understanding that Banfield will continue to charge me the $40 a month for a wellness plan for an animal that no longer exists. This is only my first effort of putting my complaints into print. Banfield is next. I know that they cannot bring my dog back, but I, at minimum, want an explanation and an appropriate apology about their process.
The only economical damage was the $500 spent to treat him, however, that is to be expected. I don't blame them for attempting the treatment for an inner ear infection. I am on disability myself, and our household funds are not such where we have an extra $500 to handle these situations, but we made it work for our dog. Where I am heartsick is that I will continue paying $40 a month for a dog that cannot use the"wellness plan". I can't even transfer it to my other dog. There was no physical damage, but there was a level of emotional damage put upon my son. He understands death, however, he should have heard it from me, elsewhere, in a way that a mother explains it. He is now frightened of the Vet office, and, in turn, since it is located in our local Petsmart store, he will no longer go in there. The way they handled this was traumatic and will leave a long term, negative lasting effect on him.
Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Wellness Plan.