Federal Way, Washington
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17 comments

I took my cat to Banfield for a routine cleaning and two hours later, received a frantic phone call from the Dr, that I should get down there right away because she wasn't doing well. The reality is that she had passed away and they couldn't revive her. She was perfectly healthy when I took her in, and I was told she was healthy, at the appointment. They could not explain what had happened. By the time I got there they decided that "there must have been something wrong with her heart" that no one knew about---??? The suggestion that she was unable to survive the sedation may have been convincing if my cat had never been sedated, but she had dental cleanings before--at another vet. She did just fine.

This was my first--and last--experience with Banfield. I wonder if what other Banfield reviewers and technicians have said is true, that the veterinarians here are inexperienced. When we got there to say goodbye to our beautiful pet, someone else did all the talking and altough she was present, the veterinarian didn't say anything at all. Not one word. She seemed shocked, and I can only wonder how many times she had done this procedure. Whatever really happened, we will never know. My children are devastated, please think twice before you decide to take your beloved pet here. Its not worth it.

  • cat care
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Anonymous
#1435323

I am very sorry this happened to you too. When I looked into why my cat died, I found that the vital signs of the pet are not being closely monitored.

There is one individual who is responsible for both the teeth cleaning and monitoring the pet. If that person is busy cleaning, or in my case left the room to call me about a newly discovered cavity, they are not watching the patient. The vet who was assigned to my pet said the equipment slipped off...evidently it was not noticed so my cat was not receiving oxygen and died.

This lack of concern or failure to adequately staff the procedure rooms when a pet is under anesthesia is a huge flaw in their system. Evidently not enough animals are losing their lives to warrant adding additional staff.

Anonymous
#1435271

Priscilla my 9 year old Yorkie died 2/2/18 while dental cleaning at Banfield Apex NC. So sorry for you loss, this is the worst experience of my life and for our family

Anonymous
#1389375

This same exact thing just happened to my cat.. but different vet. It makes no sense how my perfectly fine cat ends up dead after a teeth cleaning.

Anonymous
#1165957

Notice the absence of the age of the cat.

It was probably like 23. I'm not pro banfield or anything, but I would think that if the cat was young, it's age would have surely been included as it would have added much weight to the argument that Banfield was incompetent.

Just sayin'

Anonymous
#1165970
@Anonymous

Banfield is incompetent, my cat was 12 and had cleanings before, she was NOT 23. Since then I have learned she was not being monitored and I have the medical notes from the procedure to prove it.

Unfortunately our state laws do not protect pets or punish incompetence so we have chosen not to pursue it. Trying to pull the license of the newly graduated vet wouldn't bring my cat back.

Next time think about what it would be like to lose your family pet due to the negligence of someone who holds themselves out as a professional before you make comments about how someone else writes about their loss. Anyone who goes to Banfield needs to know that this can happen to their pet.

Anonymous
#893198

First, I am so sorry this happened. This is horrible.

My personal story as a vet tech at Banfield may be upsetting to you, so I'm not sure if you want to read it. It outlines the gross negligence I experienced while working there. I think it's important that we spread the word as to the substandard care that pets receive at many of these branch locations.

When I worked as a Banfield Vet Tech, I was "trained" on anesthetic monitoring.

Basically, I had very rudimentary training on how to monitor vitals. I was NOT a registered veterinary technician, I had VERY FEW observation opportunities, and ZERO formal training (the only training was by a computer program that oversimplified all the things that can go wrong under anesthesia, and how different drugs can affect different bodily systems). According to Banfield "policy," one person is supposed to monitor while another performs the procedure. During surgeries, this is usually ok as the veterinarian is operating and the "tech" monitors anesthesia.

However, this policy was completely disregarded during anesthetic dental cleanings. I ALWAYS performed the dental cleaning while SIMULTANEOUSLY monitoring anesthesia. And the lead technician would always yell at me if I didn't have dentals finished by a certain time, leading me to rush. As you can imagine, it's pretty hard to do 2 things at once (clean teeth and monitor vitals), so 2 things happened: 1) a substandard cleaning was usually performed, and 2) anesthesia was not monitored as closely as it should have been.

In fact, often the doctor wouldn't even inspect the teeth before or after. You are supposed to probe for pockets, inspect for resorptive lesions in cats, check for dental fractures, etc. This was NEVER done by the doctor. We didn't even have dental xrays (which according to veterinary dental specialists, you should never perform a cleaning without xrays as you miss at least 50% of disease).

But here's the really scary bit: sometimes I was left ALONE in the treatment area with no one even without shouting distance. The doctor and other tech would be off down the hall in exam rooms. What if something ever happened to the pet? Would I just run away from the table to go get someone?

Or scream and hope someone heard me? One time, I thought a dog's gums looked really pale when I turned off the anesthetic gas, but no one was in the back, so I lifted the dog off the table (endotracheal tube still down the dog's throat), and pulled the doctor out of the exam room with the dog in my arms. Does this sound like a place you should trust with your pet's health?

Shortly after I started monitoring surgery, I left for another clinic because I felt like their policies violated standard of care.

This hospital cuts a lot of corners in order to drive up profits.

The vets and support staff don't make a lot of money, but the corporation itself makes millions. They are able to make such a profit because costs are cut in unhealthy and unethical ways.

Anonymous
#893484
@Anon

Holy ***. now i will never let my pet have anesthsia here again.

thatis so scary. did you file a complaint with the vet boards because isnt that is malpractice if no dr is in the room/doing the prodedure? You should make this more well known because i had no idea & i trusted them with my furbaby because i believed the dr had to do the surgury. now i am really scared.

please do something or more pets will die.

can you give an annonymus reportso you dont get in trouble? please?

orangefire
#893505
@Anon

Thank you for posting this, as upsetting as it is, maybe it will stop someone else from trusting them with their pet. Knowing this information, it makes sense that this is exactly what happened to my cat.

I am sure if her vital signs were being correctly monitored, they would have been able to help her--before she died. Instead`, by the time they discovered she had no heartbeat, it was too late. Please let us know if you have any information about how complaints are handled, and how this may be reported.

There is nothing I can do for my cat now, but maybe there is a way to stop this or at least warn other people before it happens to them. Its devastating.

Anonymous
#894426
@orangefire

I would be happy to help you.

To answer a couple questions/comments related to my original post (I'm "Anon" - the ex-employee): I did report these practices to field leadership, and essentially nothing was done.

Our hospital manager was a notorious liar, so I doubt any action was taken after I left. I didn't report them to the board because I had no proof of anything, so my complaint would have been dismissed. Besides, it's not actually against any sort of legal veterinary regulations to have one person monitoring and cleaning at the same time, so it wouldn't be considered malpractice UNLESS a pet died/experienced complications under anesthesia as a result of lack of monitoring (which never happened in my experience, LUCKILY).

Here's my advice to you orangefire: I'm not saying your cat died because of lack of observation.

Some Banfields provide better care than others, but some aren't good. It is entirely possible your cat had some sort of idiosyncratic reaction to anesthesia - it's rare, but it does happen. Maybe your hospital isn't at fault. Maybe they have better monitoring protocols than mine did.

The only way to know is to ask questions. Here are some for you:

1) Was the same technician performing the cleaning also monitoring anesthesia, or were there 2 separate people designated to these tasks at all times?

2) How many doctors were working at the time your pet was under anesthesia? This is important: were they seeing appointments at the time your pet was under anesthesia? If so, at least part of the time your pet was under anesthesia, the doctor was in an exam room away from your pet.

You can find out the exact time your pet was under by requesting the anesthetic record.

3) At what point was the problem with your cat's vitals first noticed? What corrective measures were taken? 4) This is important!

Demand your medical records. ALL OF THEM. They may attempt to give you only a summary, but do not accept this! Request EVERYTHING from that day including exam notes, blood work, and most importantly, the anesthetic monitoring record.

The anesthetic monitoring record should give you recorded notes every 5 minutes including heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, fluid rate, any medications given, etc. At my particular Banfield, they didn't record things like eye position, which can give you an indication if the animal is too deeply anesthetized. I can help you look at this to see if the technician ignored dangerous trends, such as dropping blood pressure. 5) Talk to your veterinarian.

Ask what happened. Again, perhaps it was not the hospital's fault. Give them a chance to explain. If you still feel like something is amiss, take your records and submit them to the board or get a second opinion.

You can contact the Washington Veterinary Medical Board to determine how to submit a formal complaint. To everyone else who may read this: ASK how your hospital performs dental cleanings. Do separate people monitor and clean? Does the doctor actually probe pockets?

Do they have dental radiographs? Another horrible example: At my particular location, they had a girl with ZERO prior animal experience before working at Banfield, and about a few hours of "training" doing dental cleanings and monitoring anesthesia. She couldn't tell you the relationship between cardiac output, blood pressure, and heart rate.

She couldn't tell you what drug classes were used in case heart rate dropped too low, and what receptors they worked at. Does that sound like someone you would want to trust with the life of your pet?

Anonymous
#915162
@Anon

Why would you monitor anesthesia if you weren't comfortable with it? You could've lost a pet.

Take responsibility and don't blame everyone else.

Anesthesia is risky even with the most competent and trained hands.

Anonymous
#921861
@steve

Yeah I worked as a tech as well and if you didn't do what the manager told you to do you would be written up or fired so you don't have a choice if you want to keep your job!!! blame management for just caring about the $$$$ and having techs do things the Drs should be doing because the Drs are too overbooked

Anonymous
#953084
@steve

Rude much? I never said I was uncomfortable with monitoring anesthesia.

I said I was POORLY TRAINED and uncomfortable with their procedure of leaving me alone in the room with no one in shouting distance. Luckily, I was so apprehensive about the lack of training they gave me, that I educated myself beyond their poor excuse for training. I was dedicated to become a skilled anesthetist. I never felt that a pet was unsafe with me monitoring, but I was uncomfortable when they would leave me alone in case something did happen as a result of the pet's own physiology.

However, some of my coworkers had ZERO animal experience, no college, and no formal training and started monitoring anesthesia. That's not safe at all. How is it MY responsibility that they have poor protocols in place?

I DID take personal responsibility, which is why I supplemented my training. Did you not see that part about how I LEFT my job there because it wasn't compatible with the quality of medicine I wanted to practice?

Anonymous
#946592
@Anon

i guess i am lucky. the banfield that i work at has been training to me monitor during surgeries, it has been about 3 month process and they won't leave me alone until I'm comfortable.

during our dnt procedures the Dr. does the dental and the nurse monitors, we have 2 license techs at work and at least one works every day, all of our nursing staff is train for monitoring and all have weeks of emergency while we are training as a nurse. in my state it is illegal to preform a dnt if you are not a license tech. the doctor never leaves the patient until they are awake and if the doc needs to leave the treatment area then a different doctor on duty is back there the whole time.

i don't know if its just my locations but we all care deeply for our clients and patients.

we always let our clients know that we do what they want us to do. if there is something that needs done and it can be afforded we try to help out in any way we can.

iMakeSenseOfItAll
#962529
@Anon

Thank you for sharing your experience. I believe it all because I too have had an experience with banfield and saw how inadequately trained their staff were.... not only the techs but the veterinarian herself!

Anonymous
#892972

it was my experience as a tech at 2 different banfields that all but one of their drs was a brand new graduate or very recent i.e less than 2yrs graduated with little experience outside of school. its not their fault, they try really hard but are overwhelmed buy the number of pets they were forced to see, the lack of anyone with experience to help them with things they havnt seen before and the long hours they worked.

blame the company for not hiring enough experienced drs because they just want the cheaper new ones who can be bullied by their managers into believing all the corporate BS because theyre so young.

this was also why so many of them didnt last very long in the job. i felt bad for them

orangefire
#892981
@sad

Thank you for your comments, I hope other animal lovers will see this thread and not take their pets there, at least not for anything involving anesthesia.

weloveparrots
#961351
@orangefire

File a complaint with the state veterinanry medical board. Dont let Banfield get away with what they did!