North East, Maryland
Not resolved

Update by user Dec 30, 2011

Sofie was one and a half years old when we began taking her to Banfield Pet Hospital in Bel Air Maryland. We purchased a preventative healthcare plan for Sofie that included two complete blood work panels and one urinalysis per year among other things such as fecal exams and vaccinations. Banfield provides these plans in order to catch any illnesses the dog may come down with in the early stages of development.

Sofie’s first comprehensive appointment was on 4/20/2009 and she was seen by Dr. Jill McLaughlin. At this appointment Sofie was given a blood test as part of the plan. Upon picking Sofie up from her appointment, Sofie was brought out to me by Dr. McLaughlin and I was told that she everything was fine with her. I expected this news because Sofie seemed to be a relatively healthy dog and was only going there for a check up, not because she was sick. Sofie was taken back to the vet for a dental cleaning 7/7/2009 and was seen again by Dr. McLaughlin. At this appointment Sofie had another blood work panel run as well as a urinalysis. When I picked Sofie up from her appointment, I was told again that everything was ok with her. In May, Sofie was taken to the vets to get the Lyme vaccine and no blood work was performed at that time. In October, Sofie was taken to the vets for a routine comprehensive exam and did not have any blood work or urinalysis performed during that visit because all of the tests from the plan had been used between April and July.

Sofie’s next round of blood work and urinalysis occurred on 4/28/10 and she was seen by Dr. McLaughlin. When I picked Sofie up from her appointment I was told as always that she looked great and everything was fine. Sofie had her second round of blood work that year 11/1/10 and she was seen by Dr. Jessica McGallidner. When Sofie was given back to me I was told everything was ok, however, when I got home and looked at the summary report that is typically given to me when I leave the appointments, there was a comment about Sofie’s “kidney enyzems” and that Sofie was slightly dehydrated that day. I assumed this could be possible since she never was a big drinker and since no one ever commented about her blood work before, I figured I didn’t have anything to worry about.

Sofie’s next round of blood work was on 4/30/11 when she was taken in for a dental cleaning. This time Sofie was seen by Dr. Sheri Sprague. I received a phone call from Dr. Sprague stating that Sofie’s BUN’s (blood urea nitrogen, kidney enzyme) was quite high which alarmed her. Thinking that Sofie may be dehydrated and that could be causing the elevated results, Dr. Sprague administered fluids to Sofie and repeated the blood test. Her BUN’s had come down a bit after the fluids but they were still out of range high. Since by this time Sofie was only 3 years old, this caused Dr. Sprague to investigate further. When I went in to pick Sofie up, Dr. Sprague sat me down and stated that after looking through Sofie’s blood work history, she has had elevated BUN’s for 2 years, while her CREA’s (creatinine, another kidney enzyme) had steadily been increasing and though they were in range, they were at the upper end. Dr. Sprague wanted to put Sofie on a low protein diet immediately and have her blood tested again to see if that brought down the values.

Sofie was restricted to this prescription Hill’s K/D low protein diet immediately. In the meantime I requested that I receive copies of all of Sofie’s medical history from Banfield because whenever you pick up a pet from this hospital, they send you home with a summary of things performed that day but they do not give you the specific lab work results. When I got home and analyzed the blood work and urinalysis’ I was horrified at what I saw. Sofie’s BUN’s had been out of range high since 4/20/2009, never falling.within the normal range limits and her CREA were steadily increasing with each test. Her urinalysis had also shown abnormalities and should have raised red flags that something may be wrong but again, nothing was ever said to me when I picked her up from these appointments nor was anything written on the summary papers that I went home with. I called Dr. McLaughlin because she was the one who saw Sofie the most whenever she had her blood tests and urinalysis’ performed and asked her why this was ignored. I was very upset because I know what elevated BUN’s and CREA’s mean; it means an issue with the kidneys, and kidney damage can not be reversed. Dr. McLaughlin’s response to me was that I shouldn’t look at a dogs blood work the same way as I would look at a humans blood work and she did not seem at all concerned, meanwhile I had Dr. Sprague telling me that I should be very concerned for Sofie!

After Sofie had been on the special low protein diet, we had her blood retested by Dr. Sprauge on 7/28/2011. Her BUN and CREA were now both out of range high and I followed Dr. Sprague’s advice and took Sofie to see an internal medicine vet. I took Sofie to see Dr. Meredith Miller at the VCA in Newark Delaware. Dr. Miller had gone through all of Sofie’s medical history form Banfield and diagnosed her as having chronic kidney disease. Dr. Miller also ran her own blood work, urinalysis, urine protein/creatinine ratio test and a urine culture. Sofie’s blood work still showed elevated BUN and CREA values, her urinalysis was negative for bacteria, and her urine protein/creatinine ratio value was an 8 (normal is 0.5, cause for concern is 1). Because of the enormous amount of protein going through Sofie’s kidneys, Sofie was prescribed medications and was on them for 10 weeks. Sofie’s blood work after the medication was worse than ever and Dr. Miller suggested that we put her on subcutaneous fluid treatments. Before I could make my appointment with Sofie to learn how to do the fluid treatments at home, Sofie started to act sick on Thursday December 22. I was very alarmed and took her right in to see Dr. Miller. We started the fluid treatment everyday but Sofie did not improve, she only got worse. Sofie was sleeping most of the day beginning Thursday December 22, she stopped eating, and she could not drink. My husband and I tried feeding Sofie and giving her water through an oral syringe to buy us time to allow the fluids to start working and flush out Sofie’s system of the toxins that were building up from her failing kidneys. Sofie vomited everything that we tried to give her. On Monday December 26, Sofie woke up from a nap and started acting very strange. She was flicking her tongue in and out of her mouth violently and rubbing her face in her paws while doing so. When I looked at her tongue, it was turning black and was ulcerated which is why she couldn’t drink the water she so desperately wanted. By this day, Sofie could barely keep her eyes open and when she did wake up, she would slowly walk with a hunched back over to the water bowl and try to drink but because of her tongue she couldn’t drink the water she so desperately wanted. We discovered that a blackening tongue is a sign of uremia which is the build up of waste in the blood caused by the kidneys shutting down very quickly. Sofie had also been losing weight and large amounts of fur due to her not eating. We decided that Sofie did not deserve to suffer another day in pain, misery, and thirst. We had to put our beloved Sofie to sleep that evening. She was only 4 years and one month old.

Blood work done on Sofie at the VCA in Newark DE 2/13/2009:

BUN 23mg/dL (normal reference range set at 6-25mg/dL)

CREA 0.8mg/dL (normal reference range set at 0.5-1.6mg/dL)

Blood work history from Banfield:

BUN normal reference range set at 7.0-27.0mg/dL

CREA normal reference range set at 0.5-1.8mg/dL

4/20/09 BUN 43mg/dL, CREA 0.9mg/dL (nothing was said about high BUN)

7/7/09 BUN 56mg/dL, CREA 0.9mg/dL,urinalysis showed protein in the urine with a value of 300 (range 0.0-30.0), urine appearance was abnormal, comments were that the urine was cloudy, urine was positive for white blood cells, urine was positive for epithelial cells with the comments of debris in urine, urine bacteria was positive with the comments of few cocci. (nothing was said about high BUN or abnormal urinalysis results)

4/28/10 BUN 79mg/dL, CREA 1.3mg/dL,urinalysis showed protein in the urine with a value of 100 9range 0.0-30.0), pH was 8 9range 5.0-7.5), urine positive for white blood cells, urine positive for crystals. (nothing was said about high BUN or abnormal urinalysis results, or the increase in CREA from 0.9 to 1.3)

11/1/10 BUN 73mg/dL, CREA 1.3mg/dL (a note was written on summary sheet about Sofie being slightly dehydrated by McGallidner but no cause for concern noted).

4/30/11 BUN 67mg/dL, CREA 1.8mg/dL (finally, Dr. Sprague noticed the trend and history and brought it to my attention).

It wasn’t until 2 years later that we were told that Sofie’s blood work was indicating that she had a possible issue with her kidneys. With Sofie’s BUN’s constantly being out of range high for 2 years, I just can not understand why someone didn’t take notice for 2 years. Whenever a kidney issue is suspected, the first course of action is typically to start the dog on a low protein diet because a diet high in protein can aggravate an already present genetic issue with an animals’ kidneys. I can not help but wonder that I might have had a chance at slowing the progression of Sofie’s kidney disease had someone been paying attention to the fact that her BUN’s were high, and that her CREA, although still within normal limits, were steadily climbing. I might still have Sofie here with me today had I been given the opportunity to change her diet 2 years ago when her blood work was clearly indicating that something was going on with her kidneys even though she herself was not symptomatic until the end stages

Original review posted by user Dec 28, 2011

We started going to Banfield in April 2008....we took our oldest of three poms sofie there first. They did a dental and blood test on her.

Everything was going ok until may 2011. We took sofie there for her six month check up and got a blood test. When we went to pick her up one of the vets told us she was concerned that about her kidney values were high....her BUN were in the high 70's and Creatinine were high in range as well. She also said after looking through all her testing since she was going there she noticed that all her kidney values were steadily climbing.

She recommended we should go see a internal med doctor. So she gave my wife all the tests since she was going there and they were out of range since day one. I mean the range is 0-25 for her BUN and her first visit hers was 40. Nothing at all was ever said to us.!!!

When we confronted the chief of staff vet about this...she said well you cant compare dog values to human values. My wife said im not comparing nothing to nothing....ranges are ranges and she has been out since day one and nothing was ever said. One of the times when they did a urinalysis....every value was abnormal and clearly looked like she has a uti....but guess what...nothing was said. So her we are scrambling now after losing two years and we go to the VCA specialist.

We see there internal medicine doctor. She tests sofie and diagnosed her with acute kidney failure. This was in June 2011. So we started her on prescription food diet, medicine for her high protein buildup in her body.

After all this banfield vet was obsessed with us getting a biopsy of sofies kidney. The internal med said that is not necessary cause it will not help would only be for us and we dont need it dont cause for one it would be a risk cause of her state and two we already know she has kidney disease. Then my wife and i made a decision that not one of our dogs will step foot in that place ever again. I called corporate and told them the story.

They called the banfield office and the chief of staff called my wife and she told my wife she heard we were not happy. My wife had a 15 min conversation with her that ended with them not admitting they totally dropped the ball and failed to report her blood work findings to us. She said i have nothing for you now but should have a resolution in a week. So i week when by and i started calling the office.

After three days i finally got a call back from the office manager. I told him i wanted all three dogs out of there plans. At first they let just sofie out and not the other two. I told him you cant seriously think i am going to bring my dogs there again after what they did to sofie.

Finally in October 2011 they let them out too. December 22 2011, Sofie got up and was acting not herself. So we took her in to the internal med and she taught us how to give her IV hopes to flush her kidneys out. We did the IV fluids everyday.....On December 26 2011 we got up in the morning and she had her tail between her legs, threw up where she laid and wouldn't move, barely could walk, and her tail was turning black.

She didn't eat anything on her own since last Wednesday. She would go to the water bowl and wanted to drink but couldn't. So my wife and i had to make a hard decision and take her to be put to sleep that night. It was the hardest thing i have done in life and i haven't lived the best life.

That dog was our child...she was with us two weeks after we got married. I called banfield corporate office and asked them why do i have to pay for every medical bill after they ignored her tests. They said you have to get a they had a chance to try to step up and decided not to. You know how sick it made me when i called there offices and have to here the voice while i was on hold say how much they care about our pets and blah blah blah.

Everything im saying cannot be denied....cause the truth is in the records. Worst thing of all is that the chief of medicine vet is still practicing and who knows what other animals test are being overlooked.

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

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I brought Sophie's abnormal values to your attention the first time I had seen her in years. I discussed my concerns and where we needed from there, and yet you reported me to the board.

I did everything I could help to Sophie, and you still reported me, and I was punished at your request. I am sorry you we're told earlier, but I told you as soon as I was aware that there was a prob!em.


Well-written, very systematic ... And utterly chilling.

All Banfield cared about was your money ... Not you and certainly not little Sofie.

I am sure you will be successful in court & hope you post the results here. Thank you for protecting my two dogs by warning this owner.


Banfield you didnt resolve any concerns...i dont know who gave you that information but its wrong. Letting me out of my plan is not "resolving my concerns". I think letting my dog out of a plan which where here test were ignored for two years isnt resolving nothing.


dlgentry25, we believe that the hospital team has followed up with you to resolve your concerns. If you have additional feedback, please contact our Client Advocate Team again at 877-500-2288 or Thank you.


Are you a vet or a internal med? Cause our internal med doctor would disagree with you. I didn't put this on here looking for her history to diagnosed...i already have that covered but thanks for your 2 cents


I am very sorry for your loss. Just to clarify though: increased BUN can be due to many different increase in BUN alone does not mean kidney failure.

CREAT levels are a more sensitive indicator for kindey failure. I would be interested to know what your dog's urine Specific Gravity was? Urine Specific Gravity in conjunction with BUN and Creat levels need to be looked at to diagnose kidney failure. The abnormailites that uou mention on the urine test in April indicate a uti, not renal failure.

The Nov 2010 indication of dehydration would account for the increase in BUN and CReat as well. By defintiion your pet wasn't in renal failure until April 2011, but I do agree that loooking back on the lab work there was a trend and that should have been investigated...very sad case.

Again, I am sorry to hear that it did not turn out well. :(

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