Bridgeport, Connecticut
Not resolved

The letter below was constructed in lieu of a horrible experience earlier today involving my pet and the Vet...


April 2, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Bruce Lavigne and I own an adopted dog named Paco. He's a Chihuahua mix from Miami where I adopted him before relocating to Connecticut. He's a rescue-dog.

In recent months, I have experienced a few seizures with him which was very scary at first when you

one has never experienced this before, but it short and he seemed to do just fine until a couple of months later where I experienced another seizure with him – at this point, I don't know what the cause is. As of today, I experienced a very long seizure session with him to a point I thought he would pass out and not recover, so I contacted Banfield Hospital located within Petsmart Store here in Waterbury.

I have brought him in there on prior occasions for various (not threatening) reasons and thought they could have provided me some assistance for the immediate situation. I was in the midst of comforting him through his seizure as I was calling Banfield.

They indicated that immediate assistance would require immediate payment of $400 - $500 minimum. I advised them I am collecting Unemployment and have been unemployed for almost 2 years. I asked them if they could provide me a payment plan, but they rejected that offer indicating that I should borrow the approximate $500 from someone if I was to bring him down there. I haven't had $500 to my name in almost 2 years, let alone for an emergency type situation.

When a human being has an immediate medical need, that person is immediately assisted by an alerted medical team (usually by dialing 911) and brought to the hospital for immediate attention – the cost for the care is taken care of at a later date or payment arrangements can sometimes be agreed upon, but the hospital won't allow a person to die because he or she doesn't have hundreds of dollars on hand at the time of medical assistance.

Is there a right that Banfield Hosptial staff has the right to play God as to what animal dies and what animal lives based on available funds? I'm unemployed and collecting unemployment – does this mean Paco may have to die because I don't have the money to give them immediately?! Us, as human beings – do we have the right as to what lives or dies on this planet? Is an animal's life lower than ours to the point that an available fund a person has determines whether that animal lives or dies?

I may never get the answers to the questions I am presenting you with, but I felt very compelled to write your office to inform you of this "audacity" in the actions of this facility. I have no expectations to this letter, but if I can just be heard from someone who actually cares for life as much as I do – even if it's "just an animal", then I think that maybe….just maybe, something could be done about it.

I continue my prayers for my animal as well as my prayers for employment that will aide me and my best friend in my life who I care so deeply for – Paco.

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when is the last time you loaned a complete stranger $500.00?

Probably never. If you had, you likely would have never gotten it paid back. As unfortunate as it is, nobody owes you anything.


wow some people are just dumb...... first, lady with dog who had seizures im sorry you had to deal with that, but why didnt you just call another hospital.. like an emergency hospital? Not only that but you were not there for them to stabalize your pet. You said you were on the phone with them... so im just a little confused on that.

Second, ugh, you are wrong on that one. The hospitals only get a certain amount of charity money and if they use it already on other pets whose owners could not afford the emergency care... then they no longer have any more money to offer to others... so no they dont offer it when they dont have it.

And whoever wrote that *** about charging $40 for fluids... that particular banfield has no choice but to charge you what they do... its not up to them its the corporate people. And most of the time they have to get them all in bulk so it ends up costing more than you know.. its more like $100 a bag. yes i know it is ridiculous but it is what it is. Nothing anyone can do about it for now.

A few things some people dont realize is that yeah you might pay $200 for a spay at banfield and $60 at a county place.. but lemme tell you at the county or shelter or most other private vets dont have the same equiptment because they dont have as much money. You know what they do at those places.. have a nurse stand there with the doctor and just make sure the pet is still breathing and every now and then listen to the heart with a stethascope to make sure the heart is still beating... Whearas banfield has ekgs pulse oxs breathing tubes, etc to make sure your pet is doing good. and they also do blood tests before hand to make sure that your pets is healthy enough to even have the surgery.

Sometimes bloodwork is normal and there are things that go wrong, but in all reality... you have to remember. There is a big difference in the technology there actually is for animals and the technology there is for humans...


Banfield the pet hospital. get your head out of your ***. you guys charge way too *** much for simple procedures. $40 bucks for sub cutaneous fluids? the bag costs 1.25 and its still 40 if they only use 250mL of the 1L bag.

Care credit is also a joke. The rules are so high that if you have decent credit you won't get it. People do yourself a favor and go somewhere else.

As for paco sir I am sorry but if you can't afford to fix an emergency a dog may not be a good choice. not to side with them but If i do work i want to get paid. it is still a business and a dog is a dog no matter how much we love them.


Also, keep in mind that in almost every state a veterinarian is required by the state board to immediately stabilize an emergency. If the seizures didnt stop within approx 30 to 60 seconds, i would have brought him right in (without even wasting time on the phone arguing with an 18 year old receptionist).

The DVM woukld have (almost certainly) been required to immediately stop the seizure and stabilize your pet. Then (and only then) they can take time to go over their policies and provide you an estimate for A - the emergency care already provided, and B - the cost of further/ongoing care...

in almost every state, they MUST stabilize the per, period


These folks aren't trying to play God, trust me. They are simply trying to ensure the bills will be paid, and they will still be able to stay in business.

I can assure you that no one that offers care to our pets are in it to get rich, but they still do need to cover overhead costs. No, I am not in anyway associated with the Vets, But I do want them to be there when I need them as well.Good luck with your pet.


Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.(oh and emergency medical care if you are the one having the seizures)

People such as yourselves who think the world owes them are a product of the "Entitlement Generation"


Actually if you are taken to the hospital and have no insurance, they stabilize you, give you a referral to another doctor, you call them and they say when you have the money call back and we will set you an appointment. I know this because I was hemorrhaging, found out I have cancer and need a hysterectomy and I am unemployed have no insurance and so for the past 4 months I have been trying to find anyone that will help me.

No one. I'm poor so I am just going to die. Maybe I should run for office or get arrested.

Then I would get free health care. No matter, after all this time I am just resigned to it....Anyway, hope your dog is ok now.


I just have to add that just about any animal hospital would have treated you the same way. It's just a business.

I just dropped 600.00 to bring my dog to the vet on a weekend for ingesting something she shouldn't have. They didn't even do anything for her but hydrate her and tack on some extra charges.


Comparing emergency care of pets to emergency care of humans is like comparing apples and oranges. The two lines of health care are completely different so it isn't a good argument to say because one operates a certain way the other should do the same.

Of course animals are not "below us" but they ARE dependent upon homes that can afford to care for them! Why should a veterinarian have to pay for your pet's care? Just because he/she is in a "helping profession"? I am sure it's pretty costly to run an animal hospital. This type of attitude is what is wrong with our country - people expect something for nothing and then blame others for their lack of responsibility.

All the vets I've been to over the years are compassionate people who became vets because they love animals. I wouldn't say any of them "only think of their pockets" but have bills to pay, loans to pay back and families to feed. If they give away care to people who can't afford their pets then they will wind up going out of business! Who will they help then?


Ugh is correct.

Also, keep in mind that in almost every state a veterinarian is required by the state board to immediately stabilize an emergency. If the seizures didnt stop within approx 30 to 60 seconds, i would have brought him right in (without even wasting time on the phone arguing with an 18 year old receptionist). The DVM woukld have (almost certainly) been required to immediately stop the seizure and stabilize your pet. Then (and only then) they can take time to go over their policies and provide you an estimate for A - the emergency care already provided, and B - the cost of further/ongoing care...

Next time please, treat the emergency now, and argue with fools later...


Banfield DOES have a Charity fund, but if the hospital uses it, the doctor's don't get their 'production'...


We don't care take get some money or take Paco elsewhere!

Banfield P

We hope Paco is doing better and are sorry for the difficult position you are in. Unfortunately, there are many causes of seizures and in order to treat them appropriately, the cause must be identified.

Seizures can be mild to severe and last seconds to several minutes. Severe seizures that last a long time, or repeated seizures in a short period of time, can be life threatening, so we encourage you to have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

As a practice of pet lovers, we know that they are very important family members and we want the best for them. Because our veterinary hospitals require payment at the time pets receive care, we offer CareCredit as a potential payment option for our clients.

CareCredit has helped many of our clients with similar payment situations and we encourage you to explore this option for Paco.

While patient care in human hospitals is at least partially subsidized for those unable to pay, unfortunately a similar system does not exist for veterinarians. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our Client Advocate team at 877-500-2288.


another thought to add to that of CTGuy42, why doesn't a corporation such as Banfield have a "Charity Fund"? We have one and it's a small privately owned veterinary hospital. Any donations that we've received from clients and donations from our own employees and the hospital owners have been used to help pay bills for some of our less fortunate clients.


I was reviewing and commentating... Your letter has a poor argument I'm sorry if you took my comments too critical but if you haven't sent this letter to them than its not too late to make some changes...

like drop your moral argument that animals are just as important as people you will lose that argument especially at Banfield...

Try arguing the point that you will gladly pay them over time and that money shouldnt be more important than an animals life... at some point in their carriers someone in that building had to care about animals otherwise they would have never become vets (god I hope that true) try to appeal to them from that angle...


I truly do understand where you're coming from. Pets do deserve the same care that people do, however I think that saying veterinarians are money grubbing individuals is a bit harsh. Are there vets out there that are only worried about the bottom line, yes, and I've worked for one of them. However, on the other hadn, veterinarians are not afforded the same luxuries as human healthcare. Although insurance is available to pet owners, the amount covered by the insurance company is not even close to what is covered for humans and coverage is based on what type of insurance the owner buys. In addition these insurance companies do not have contracts with veterinarians like they do hospitals, after hour clinics and your family physician. Human healthcare facilities know that they will be, in most cases, paid for a majority of the costs incurred by the patient. This isn't the case with pet healthcare.

I think as a whole, most veterinarians would love it if they were given the opportunity to medically treat a pet exactly as they wanted. There are many patients that we would love to send to the oncologist, neurologist, dermatologist or behaviorist but unfortunately its just not financially feasible for many people. Many of these places as well as your regular veterinarian are privately owned. The only way to pay for staff, equipment, medications and time is for the client to pay for them.

I really do appreciate your frustration. At our practice we really do try to accommodate our clients to the best of our abilities. It would be fantastic if some of the corporate hospitals could do the same.

I don't think any of us enjoy playing God, but sometimes hands are tied. I only hope that your able to find some help for your friend Paco. Maybe you can try to find an organization in the area that can help with low cost pet care?


I am not in the liberty of disputing this with you or any other human being despite his or her position.

I posted this letter for people to review and comment, not to criticize the content - look at the overall picture instead of disecting it.

I am ending this thread with you and thank you for your input.


I'm trying to think of a nice way to put this because I agree with you somewhat... but yes people are above dogs and other animals and yes we decide which animals to kill everyday (and boy do we kill them in droves).

I agree with you vets need to figure out a way to get help to pets quicker without waiting for payments I had a friend who's dog ate a toy... she had to secure $5,000 before they would work on him.. Few 25 year olds have that much lying around... so she had to get it from her parents and it all just took time...

In your case you need $500 just for the check up then who knows what else you would have been slammed with... Lots of people can make the argument that Maybe someone who cant afford to take care of a dog shouldn't have one...

In summery I agree vets need to not seem too money grubby but people have ruined it for us like the comment below ours said most don't end up paying and they need to stay in business or they cant help any animal... but your argument that dogs/ animals are equal to human beings is asinine and you using it as the main argument in your letter weakens your letter greatly


Thanks for your comment Anonymous, but as you can see, when people need immediate help, they aren't denied cause they don't have a fat wallet - you're not going to see an ER just look at people die in the waiting room because they have no money. They get help and get billed later.

I guess animals are below us according to Vets who only think of their deep pockets instead of the well being of the animals for which they hold the right to help, huh?

On another note, my credit is not great, so I wouldn't be accepted through CARECREDIT....

I wonder if human beings should apply for a credit account in case something happens to them too...


I'm very sorry about the problems you're having with your friend Paco. I'm not sure where the estimated costs came from for a visit, but unfortunately most veterinary hospitals will tell you the same thing...payment is due at the time of service. I don't work for Banfield but in a private practice, and please let me tell you that is always a hard thing when people call with a problem and don't have the financial means to care for their pet. The vet I work for, had in the past accepted payments from many individuals that couldn't afford treatment, but in the end 90% never paid their bills and were sent to collections. In the end, thousands of dollars worth of medical care was unpaid for. Within the past few years we've had to implement new policies that don't allow payments.

Do you think you could apply for CARECREDIT? I don't know if it's accepted in your area, but it's something worth looking into. Depending on the bill they have 6, 12 and 18 month no interest payments. I think it's something you might want to look into.

If your pet is having repeated seizures you might be able to manage them with medication. If I were you I'd check out some of the local vets in the area and see what their fees are and once again check into the CARECREDIT thing.

best of luck!

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