Boomer was outside running around like normal. When I called him to come inside, he was on our back deck, which is about 5 inches off of the ground. As he stepped down, he yelped and hopped a few steps. Right away, I noticed something was not right with him. He normally runs into the house, but he was walking very gingerly, like his back hurt. He was tucking his hips under and holding his tail down. Also he refused to walk up the stairs into the house. I carried him inside and checked him over, looking for anything on his legs or feet that may be hurting, but I didn’t find anything. But he had started to pant and whimper. His lower abdomen got very hard. He was also clearly uncomfortable and kept getting up and lying down. I called my husband and when he got home from work, we took Boomer to the Banfield on Dale Mabry. We got there at about 6:20, and they closed at 7pm. They took us back into a room and I explained to the vet (Dr. Certa) and tech what happened, and said I was worried it had to do with his back since he was a dachshund mix. The vet started moving his arms and legs and feeling him over, looking for a problem. He said he didn’t see anything and said we should do an x-ray to look at his back, and maybe blood work to check for pancreatitis. We did the x-ray ($ 209 dollars) but declined the blood work. When the results came back, Dr. Certa said that he didn’t see anything wrong with Boomer’s discs or back, and he thought maybe he just pulled something. He didn’t really give us a definite answer. He gave us pain killers and muscle relaxers and said to bring him back Sunday if Boomer wasn’t doing better. This visit cost us almost $400. We felt rushed in and out, like they wanted to hurry up and close.
September 25, 2013
The next morning, Boomer was worse. He was even more uncomfortable and in pain. The pills didn’t seem to be doing anything. By the afternoon, I noticed he also seemed to be having trouble walking, and eventually his back legs stopped working all together. He started shaking. He would try to walk and would drag his legs behind him. I tried to stand him up and he would walk on the tops of his back feet. I called Banfield around 3:30 and told them about it. They told me that they must have given him too high a dose and to just cut the pills in half and he should be fine. About an hour later I called again because Boomer was worse. The vet on the phone told me that since he was not the one who treated Boomer, what did I expect him to do. Extremely rude. He said it was probably just a side effect of the pills and that if it didn’t wear off by morning to call again. At this point we had had it with Banfield. Boomer was continuously crying and rocking back and forth. He was panting heavily and drooling. His eyes were very wide and glassy. At about 9 pm, we called Blue Pearl emergency vet and told them what was going on, and they told us to get him there immediately, a big difference from Banfield. We rushed him there and he was taken back. We talked to Dr. Eckhart and explained everything that had happened and how Banfield had treated us. When we told her about getting the x-rays for his discs, she said that you couldn’t even see the discs on x-ray! That the only way was to have an MRI done! After she examined Boomer, she told us that she was 99% sure it was his discs and that his lower half had become paralyzed. I asked if the pain killers had done anything, and she said no, that he was in excruciating pain and had been all day. We were devastated that he had been suffering. Dr. Eckhart explained our options. She said we could have him put to sleep, or have surgery. She explained that the surgery would be about $5000 and would include that MRI and the actual procedure. But she said that since he had no feeling in his legs, chances are he would never walk again. We were completely in shock and devastated. Had we gotten him there earlier, his chances for surgery would have been much better and he could be here right now! But because we trusted the vets at Banfield, it was too late!! Sadly, we had to put Boomer to sleep. He would have been absolutely miserable with that life. My husband and I were prepared to pay for the surgery and help him recover, but Banfield stole that choice and our dog from us. Boomer was only 5 years old, and otherwise perfectly healthy.
September 26, 2013
I called Banfield’s corporate office and lodged a complaint. I explained everything to them, including how we were brushed off by not one, but THREE Banfield vets. A few hours later, Dr. Certa called us. He apologized about Boomer, but said since Boomer wasn’t that bad when he saw him, it wasn’t their fault! When I asked about why he said Boomer’s discs were fine, but how the ER vet said you needed an MRI, he disagreed and didn’t really have much to say about it. He said we would be getting a refund and that he would get back to us. He went on to say that the surgery would have been very expensive and we would have had to work on rehabbing Boomer for a long time. I told him that if there was a chance that Boomer would come out of the surgery ok, we would have paid anything and worked with him as long as he needed; but because Banfield didn’t do their job, we didn’t even get to make this decision. Dr. Certa also said that the other vets should in fact have told us to come in right away. I told him that was great, but that it didn’t do us any good now. He continued to talk in circles about how it wasn’t Banfields fault and that he would be getting back to us about our refund. He “assured” us he would sit down and talk to the other vets as well. Like I believe that.
If Banfield couldn’t find what out was wrong, they should have recommended us to go somewhere else that Tuesday night, because if we did, Boomer would be here right now. They are at fault for his death, at least in part. Looking online for a number to call their corporate office, we came upon hundreds and hundreds of pages of complaints about Banfield clinics all over the country that were very similar to ours: they were rude, misdiagnosed pets, didn’t act like they cared, out for as much money as they could get, etc. And all too often, these complaints ended like ours did, with the pets being either seriously injured or euthanized. We are placing several complaints with Banfield, and also with Florida Veterinarian Association.
Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Vaccination.
Monetary Loss: $800.