Author Topic: Banfield Pet Hospital (Read 10138 times)

BrooklineBiker

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Banfield Pet Hospital
« on: December 04, 2014, 11:49:14 AM »
Hi everyone,
I have a question for the group. I am trying to figure out if Banfield Pet Hospital's "Optimum Wellness-Active Prevention" care plan is a good deal. I own a 10 year old dog. The dog requires veterinary care from time to time. Under the Optimum Wellness Plan, we pay $432 per year ($36 per month) for 2 comprehensive exams at no additional cost, an annual dental cleaning at no extra charge, a bunch of lab tests at no extra cost, unlimited free office visits, and a full collection of shots. I have found it difficult to nail down prices with some of our local independent vets so Banfield at least offers price predictability. Also, most of vets near us strike me as expensive. (We live near a big city). I never get out of the office without paying $200. I like the idea that I won't defer care because of the cost. So what do you all think? Is this a good deal? Would we better off going to a stand alone vet?

(BTW-Pet ownership is likely not mustachian. However, I compromised and got a rescue dog for the sake of family harmony).

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 11:57:46 AM »
I've never gotten one of those policies although I know people who swear by them.

But in your case...(please keep in mind I have 0% tact with humans)...he's ten years old. The policy at this point truly pays because at that age, just like with very aged humans...stuff happens.

I have a rescue who is prob 11 or so. She was hit by a car and has seizures, then needed ACL repair (which I didn't get as it was over 3k). Now she's on seizure meds...currently 6 pills a day. Even buying them at Costco is pricey. Last vet visit was over $200.

So in your case the policy is probably a good thing because just the vet visits are insane.

Some rescue organizations get a 10-20% discount with vets as they are basically doing bulk business. It might be worth it to you to see if a local one will let you bill thru them: you pay them but still get the big discount.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 12:12:28 PM »
I've never gotten one of those policies although I know people who swear by them.

But in your case...(please keep in mind I have 0% tact with humans)...he's ten years old. The policy at this point truly pays because at that age, just like with very aged humans...stuff happens.

I have a rescue who is prob 11 or so. She was hit by a car and has seizures, then needed ACL repair (which I didn't get as it was over 3k). Now she's on seizure meds...currently 6 pills a day. Even buying them at Costco is pricey. Last vet visit was over $200.

So in your case the policy is probably a good thing because just the vet visits are insane.

Some rescue organizations get a 10-20% discount with vets as they are basically doing bulk business. It might be worth it to you to see if a local one will let you bill thru them: you pay them but still get the big discount.
Hi Path,
Thanks for the good advice. Our dog has been pretty indestructible to date. However, 10 years old does mean he is going to start having issues.

Cromacster

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 12:20:35 PM »
The nice thing about most vets is they do have prices set for everything. They should be able to quote you a price on whatever is being done, shots, check up etc. You just need to to hold firm when they add on stuff that you are not aware of. Unless it is life threatening, do you research.

I looked at this plan when I first got my dog. I chose against it, because in the end, it's not going to be the yearly checkups and vaccinations that cause financial hardship. It's going to be the catastrophic events that are going to hurt. Cancer, broken leg, surgeries, and the like. These are not covered under the banfield plan. I have a young healthy dog, that requires a yearly check up and some shots. So far it costs around 150/yr. My vet also does free consults over the phone if I have an issue, so I can avoid going in.
Mustachians are not the sort of people who sit around moaning about how the government is keeping them down. Were the people who look at what we got, figure out what we dont like, and fix it.
~Mr. Frugal Toque

Gin1984

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2014, 12:25:16 PM »
Don't do it, mostly because that "pet hospitals" suck. Go to a vet clinic not associated with a pet store and you'll find them more willing to work with you and more honest. And, IMO, better quality of staff.

Cromacster

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2014, 12:28:16 PM »
Don't do it, mostly because that "pet hospitals" suck. Go to a vet clinic not associated with a pet store and you'll find them more willing to work with you and more honest. And, IMO, better quality of staff.

Yes, This.
Mustachians are not the sort of people who sit around moaning about how the government is keeping them down. Were the people who look at what we got, figure out what we dont like, and fix it.
~Mr. Frugal Toque

cdiggs

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2014, 01:50:47 PM »
Great topic BrooklineBiker. We have two rescues (a 5-year old dog and 14-year old cat) and have been taking them both to Banfield for the last 4 years. I wouldn't have a problem recommending them based on care received. Our dog has a knack for getting hurt (strange skin bumps, getting cut by a piece of loose/sharp metal at a dog park, biting into an aerosol can of powder sunscreen) and they have treated us and our pets well every time. When we have questioned if a test or Rx was necessary, they have worked with us to diagnose or treat the situation in a way that makes more sense to us. I appreciate that.

With that said, we have wondered if it would be less expensive to just find a local vet and only go once a year for our cat (b/c of his age) and only as often as needed for vaccinations or ailments for our dog? I'm curious how much do others spend each year on vet care (before meds)?

Cromacster

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 02:08:27 PM »
I'm curious how much do others spend each year on vet care (before meds)?

Before med's I spent around 82$ for my annual checkup, I think he had 1 or two shots, that might have added 30-40$. I usually expect to pay about 150/yr unless something bad happens.

Flea/tick and heartworm are about another 150 per year, but I don't buy those from the vet anyway. Costco has been the most price competitive that I can find.

For the most part, I treat my dog like a 10 year old boy. He gets his annual checkup. Otherwise he only goes to the vet if he is in serious need of stitches or obvious signs of severe illness. Everything else I tell him to rub some dirt on it.

Websites online also have great home solutions for many issues. Coconut oil is good for almost everything dogs. It's good for them to eat, it's good to rub on cuts or itchy/raw skin, and it's good to clean out their ears.
Mustachians are not the sort of people who sit around moaning about how the government is keeping them down. Were the people who look at what we got, figure out what we dont like, and fix it.
~Mr. Frugal Toque

NumberCruncher

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 02:15:10 PM »
We went from an expensive vet to Banfield and have a 10-year-old golden retriever. We were exasperated at being charged $95/visit (at a minimum mind you - $95 just to be seen by a vet. Soak that in a bit), and went with Banfield as it was hard to get a sense of prices by other vets in the area (Brookline? Boston's Brookline? I'm in the greater Boston area as well).

We've also just had a very unlucky year dog-health-wise...

We've had generally good experiences with Banfield, though the specific location might matter. They have a bunch of promotions, where the first visit is free or something too, so you can check out the one nearest you without signing up (and you don't need to be on a plan in general and can pay a la carte).

It is nice to be able to go in to see a vet without worrying as much about the cost, but I'd second the advice to shop around and ask. You can probably get vaccinations outside of a typical vet office for cheaper as well, so not all of the costs need to be cheaper at another vet for it to make sense.

dodojojo

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 03:36:46 PM »
For the first 3 months after I adopted my cats, we signed up for the Banfield annual plan. One of my cats had a severe respiratory infection and the other had lingering earmite debris. I suspect it would have been expensive regardless of the vet practice but after about 3 months I decided Banfield wasn't for me--especially after one particularly frustrating non-appointment.

First the reasons why their package deal may not be such a good deal. Every little question and issue is met with the standard Banfield reply of "bring "pet name" in." And when you do bring your pet in, any possible issue must undergo some type of test or exam. Banfield has a whole setup there and equipment needs to be paid off. I understand Banfield will defend this practice as the best care for pets, but at the end of the day, every probe, exam or blood extraction adds up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. And not all of them are necessary.

They use a HMO approach so your pets see different vets and you are unable to develop a relationship with one vet. It also means the staff and vets really do not know your pets and everything is done by the book and computer notes. Again, detailed notes on pet visits are important but you can't really talk to your vet and they can't go off the Banfield script. Multiple vets also means quality control issues. I had to tell Banfield to never schedule one vet for my cats after he manhandled them. They were petrified and defecated in their carriers. He shook and poured them out of the carrier anyway. A second vet had great bedside manner and was very enthusiastic but very green. The 3rd vet blew off my appointment and that was the end of Banfield for me. I left work early, corralled my unhappy cats into carriers and waited patiently at Banfield for my appointment. I could see the vet walking around the office. Near closing time, I asked when we would see the vet and I was informed the vet had left for the day. That was it, I was done with Banfield. On top of the shaky vet service, I had spent over $1,000 in about two months. The office manager called me later to see what Banfield could do to retain me as a customer. I felt bad for her but I told her that Banfield would have to change its entire business and vet practice approach. Obviously that wasn't going to happen.

So I switched to a small practice with an old school vet. I live in an extremely high COLA area so he ain't exactly cheap either. But the way he runs his practice--it's more cost-effective for me. If I call in with an issue or potential problem and obviously if it's not a life-threatening situation, he will offer some home remedies to see if the cats will get over it. Sometimes, he just asks me to give it some time. Cost to me? $0. Banfield's rote response would be to bring in the cat. He knows my cats and what they can handle. If a situation warrants a visit, there isn't a knee-jerk response for some expensive testing or exam--mainly because his office doesn't have the latest expensive equipment that needs to be used and paid off. Basically, he's a vet with a lot of experience and he practices based on that rather than by prescribed policies that a vet under Banfield would have to follow. He's not perfect by any means (have some issues with his tech and support staff), but I'm much more comfortable with the care he provides my cats and I prefer the small vet practice model too. The biggest bummer is that he moved location and now I have to rent a car or hire a taxi for visits. I used to load my cats into the pet stroller and walk them to appointments.

startingsmall

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 07:49:31 PM »
As a veterinarian who worked for Banfield for 2.5 years.... STAY AWAY!!!

Their wellness plans are a rip-off. Seriously.

I'm assuming based on your description and pricing that you're looking at their mid-level plan (no idea what they currently call it, used to be Basic Plus). Basically what you're getting is their annual preventive care and a dental cleaning on a yearly basis. I can say that at the clinic in which I currently work (non-corporate high-quality clinic in a high-COL area), annual exam/vaccines and a yearly dental cleaning would probably cost around $400/yr, depending on which vaccines your dog needed in a given year. Okay, so you're even there. But here are some things to consider...

- Banfield's prices on everything else (especially surgeries) are INCREDIBLY high. When I worked for Banfield, most surgical procedures could be done by the board-certified surgeons at the specialty hospital for much less than the Banfield price. I frequently referred clients to the specialist or too other local clinics because our prices were just way too high for me to be comfortable with charging. Our hospitalization fees were higher than I have ever seen elsewhere. IV catheter charge higher than elsewhere Etc, etc. So if your dog ever has a serious illness, your prices at Banfield (even with your wellness plan discount) will likely be higher than what you would have paid at an independent veterinarian.

- The office visits are free, but no diagnostics are included. Say your dog goes in for an ear infection... your exam is free, but there may be an extra fee added on for an otoscopic exam. (This is part of a standard physical exam and is included at no charge by most vet clinics, but Banfield demands that their doctors charge separately for that. Many doctors try to avoid it, but their ability to get away with that is determined by local field leadership and their practice manager.) Your dog is limping? Be prepared for a 'lameness exam' add-on fee. The exam is free, but the still expect the doctors to generate >$100/visit, so expect a lot of expensive add-ons. The doctors aren't trying to rip you off, but they're stuck trying to keep their jobs.

- Their pricing looks attractive because they include the prices for a lot of vaccines in showing you the savings of the wellness plan. A 10 year old dog should only be receiving a rabies vaccine every 3 years, a distemper/parvo vaccine every 3 years, and a bordetella vaccine yearly (IF they board or go to a groomer). Maybe a Lyme vaccine if you're in a Lyme-endemic area, but there's even some controversy on that. Banfield's price comparison chart will show you the prices for getting yearly rabies/distemper/parvo/bordetella/lepto/lyme, but that's not realistic because no dog needs all that.

- The dental is supposedly "Free," but expect a lot of add-on charges. Extra charges for extractions are reasonable (every vet will charge extra if there are surgical extractions), but Banfield's 'free' anesthesia is kind of a joke. Your dog needs a pain injection? You'll pay extra. A nerve block for an extraction? You'll pay extra. Your dog's heart rate drops below a certain point under anesthesia? You'll pay extra for the injection to help raise it. Your dog has a heart murmur, a single elevated liver value, or any other factor that requires a deviation from their standard cookie-cutter drug protocol? You'll pay extra for each drug. I almost never had a client with a $0 bill on their free dental. (Contrast this to where I currently work. Anesthesia is somewhere right around $80. Period. We use whatever drugs we feel are safest for your individual pet, we give pain meds if a procedure is expected to be be painful, we do nerve blocks if needed, we give emergency drugs if needed.... and it's all $80. Anesthesia is $80, period. That's how it should be.)

Hope that helps. I'd avoid it. There are some great doctors who work for Banfield, but they don't typically last due to the fact that the company focuses on profits over medicine... and clients have a very high dissatisfaction rate with the wellness plans (we were constantly pushed to try to keep our renewal rates up and that seemed to be a universal problem). It's kind of like those buy-here-pay-here places. Some broke clients found the monthly payments helpful, but in the long run they probably paid more than if they had gone to a noncorporate veterinarian.

Some of the hospitals are charter hospitals (franchises instead of corporate-owned) and those can sometimes be a bit better because they're run by a veterinarian instead of by the corporation. Charter hospitals are relatively rare, though.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 04:47:27 AM by startingsmall »

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2014, 09:15:00 PM »
Yikes. If someone on the inside of any corporation tells me to stay away it's a ripoff...I'm gonna thank them and exit stage left. If it's not what's in the best interest of the pet...they shouldn't be in business. I see what you're saying about locations mattering but...yikes.

I thought about this thread today as I was working and was adding up in my head what the op said was "covered"...and it sounded like a good deal.

But ideally I agree with the people who said you're better off to find a vet you like who will work with you.

I highly encourage you to ask what things cost PRIOR to saying you want them done. Even if you know the vet for years. Example: I'd gone to the same vet for over ten years, moved away, moved back...took a new rescue in to be spayed.

Picked the dog up and said how much: "That'll be $518 please." I laughed in the tech's face. He said no, that's what it cost. "Why...did you...uh... want to talk to the vet?"

"Um, yeah: I wanna see if he's wearing a bandana mask and has a bigass gun." Argued it down to $400 but never went back to him. Found out (small town) that he's trying to sell his practice and has been inflating everything so his books look good.

Asshat.

startingsmall

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2014, 04:52:59 AM »
Any good vet will be willing to provide you with estimates along the way.

At my current job, clients who are coming in for preventive care (yearly visits, vaccines, etc) are given an estimate as soon as they enter the exam room. Clients dropping off for surgery sign an estimate before they leave the pet. If someone comes in with a sick pet that needs any diagnostics, I always offer a rough estimate verbally (ie. "I'd suggest we do xrays because blahblahblah and xrays are around $175 or so.") and offer them a typed estimate if they'd like something more detailed. Definitely ask - any vet should be happy to give you that information.

Now it is true that you can't really just call around and get an exact price on an annual exam. The front desk can usually give you a rough idea, but the exact price will depend on which vaccines your pet is due for, what type of bloodwork your pet needs (ie. certain medical conditions and long-term medications require more comprehensive bloodwork for monitoring than the typical routine yearly bloodwork), and what sorts of medical conditions are found on exam. So they can give you a rough idea, but there really isn't a way to give an exact estimate until the vet examines the pet. (Unless it's a vaccine clinic, where they just load everyone up on vaccines regardless of health status, but I'd steer clear of those. The exam is more important than the vaccines and I've seen a lot of dogs with major issues that weren't detected by vaccines clinics because those guys don't even do a full physical exam.)

« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 04:55:15 AM by startingsmall »

dodojojo

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2014, 08:54:10 AM »
As a veterinarian who worked for Banfield for 2.5 years.... STAY AWAY!!!

Their wellness plans are a rip-off. Seriously.


Thanks, startingsmall. You confirmed what I suspected of Banfield. I hope the young green vet at my local Banfield moved on to a private practice. I really liked her and think she will be a great vet. I haven't seen her around when I've been at Petsmart so I think she moved on pretty quickly.

For an example of something that would likely never happen at Banfield. Earlier this year, my cats were having problems. I won't get into the details but I was concerned with long-term effects so I brought them to the vet and insisted on exams and action. The vet tech laid out the plan which totaled over $1,400...gulp but I signed off as I was worried about the long term health and cost of the problem. My vet came into the office and actually talked me out of everything. He calmed me down, advised me to diligently use a home remedy (already had the product at home) and I left the office only paying the visit fee.

startingsmall

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2014, 09:19:24 AM »
In my current job (high-income area where pets are typically seen as part of the family), I probably spend more time talking clients OUT of diagnostics/treatment than I do talking them in to clients and treatment. That was not my experience when I worked in a more rural practice (where many clients wanted to euthanize if the bill was going to be much over about $200), but it's my experience now.... and I love it :)

Guses

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2014, 10:09:00 AM »
In my current job (high-income area where pets are typically seen as part of the family), I probably spend more time talking clients OUT of diagnostics/treatment than I do talking them in to clients and treatment. That was not my experience when I worked in a more rural practice (where many clients wanted to euthanize if the bill was going to be much over about $200), but it's my experience now.... and I love it :)

I can hear the gun cocking from here :P

Sorry to threadjack, but I am wondering if you can give me advice as a vet for cat vaccine.

The clinic I go to are pretty pushy about giving multiple vaccines to my cats every year. I believe 3 of them this year. Would it be safe to take the vaccine every second year instead?

We are concerned about side effects linked to frequent exposure to vaccine adjuvant. My cats go outside.

DragonSlayer

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2014, 10:18:06 AM »
I'll echo the stay away statements. We took our first dog there for about four years. We didn't know any better. I don't know how much money we wasted on unnecessary tests and procedures because, as someone stated above, it was all part of "the script." "You can't have X done unless we also do Y and Z, and maybe Q." And, like another poster, we had a wide variety of experiences with the vets. Some were very kind. Others were complete jerks and bordered on physically abusive. When we'd drop our dog off, I honestly wondered how she was being treated, which should never be a concern. And then there were the guilt trips. If we said we wanted a more conservative treatment it was like, "Oh, well, if you just can't afford to do what's best for your pet..." Hello? I can afford it, but it makes no sense to do all kinds of crazy expensive procedures on an elderly dog who's already past her life expectancy, anyway.

I finally found a great local vet who runs his practice on common sense. If we have an issue, he lays out all of the treatment options, pros and cons, and lets us choose which we feel is best for our situation. There's no guilt or pressure. He's an older gentleman, so that might be why. It's not that he doesn't know all the latest and greatest, he's just not into selling it. He knows our dog and listens to our questions. I never felt listened to a Banfield, just pushed through on the conveyor belt.

My advice is to ask around for a recommendation. There are lots of vets in most areas and prices/treatment styles vary widely. You may have to try a few duds before you get a match, but when you do it can save you a ton of money and anxiety. Find out who your neighbors use and if they're happy. Ask your coworkers. Ask people you see at the dog park, or wherever.

startingsmall

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2014, 10:29:20 AM »
I have definitely done more than my share of no-charge euthanasias when owners pulled the whole "I can buy a bullet for 50 cents, so why should I pay you to euthanize the cat" routine!!

Here are "the" guidelines for vaccination in cats: http://catvets.com/public/PDFs/PracticeGuidelines/VaccinationGLS-summary.pdf

Or, to summarize even more concisely: All cats need Rabies vaccine every 1 or 3 years (the yearly PureVax vaccine may carry lower risk, but I'm not quite convinced that it provides a huge benefit given that you're injecting them 3x as often as with a 3-year product) and Distemper (FVRCP) every three years. Cats who go outdoors also need Feline Leukemia yearly, but this is not needed in indoor cats.

There are some other vaccines that are available/offered (FIV, FIP, Chlamydia, Bordetella, Giardia) but those are rarely recommended.

Hope that helps :)

ak907

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2014, 11:34:24 AM »
On the yearly dental, try brushing your dog's teeth every once and a while and maybe you wont need it (at least not that often). Try something like, http://amazon.com/gp/product/B004ULYZ5Q/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_7?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Tami1982

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2014, 11:43:15 AM »
Wellness plans are not worth it. Banfield is the most expensive vet on the planet (with exception of emergency vet visits).

I have found - for about the same price or less - pet insurance to be a great alternative. You pick any vet you want and they reimburse you for your expenses. My favorite is VPI. I have had them for eight years. When I got my puppy six years ago I priced it out and the only time having the Banfield plan is a good deal is the first year of life when they have so many shots and spay/neuter.

With that in mind - Banfield over vaccinates pets like crazy. Gives them shots they don't need for diseases that aren't in your area.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2014, 02:16:50 PM »
I had a terrible experience with Banfield. I think they are very predatory. These vets like to run up the bill with blood work and X-rays... sometimes for no reason. If you went to the doctor for a stomach ache, would you expect an X-ray? Then why is that the go-to answer at so many vets. Ridiculous.

startingsmall

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2014, 03:24:38 PM »
I had a terrible experience with Banfield. I think they are very predatory. These vets like to run up the bill with blood work and X-rays... sometimes for no reason. If you went to the doctor for a stomach ache, would you expect an X-ray? Then why is that the go-to answer at so many vets. Ridiculous.

If you were a veterinarian, and you had a dog die due to a foreign body that would have been found if only xrays were performed, you'd feel differently. Do xrays need to be offered right off the bat on every vomiting dog? No. Do I offer them on any dog who has been vomiting frequently and/or for more than 24 hours? Absolutely... ever since doing a necropsy on a dog that died due to a balogna wrapper that had sawed back and forth on his intestine leading to perforation.

The vet's job is to offer what we feel is best for the pet. It's up to the owner whether or not they want to do those things, but it's unethical for the vet to not even recommend them just to save the client a buck. I've worked for vets who operated that way... they were very popular with their clients due to their low prices, but some of those clients had no idea that there were better options available. As I frequently tell my clients: "it's my job to give you options."

Every vomiting dog is different, but I probably offer xrays on about 30-40% of the dogs that I see presented for vomiting. Does everyone take me up on it? Absolutely not (and I don't expect them to, I just discuss the potential benefits vs the cost of xrays and let them decide)... but I sleep better at night knowing that I at least gave them the option.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 03:31:52 PM by startingsmall »

Guses

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2014, 03:40:09 PM »
If you went to the doctor for a stomach ache, would you expect an X-ray? Then why is that the go-to answer at so many vets. Ridiculous.

When my doctor asks me questions, I growl and bark instead of answering like a dog would a vet... Oh wait, I got them mixed up again!

Yea, since pets can't talk Xray is often the only way to see what's going on.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2014, 07:01:12 PM »
Hi everyone,
I wish to thank you all for you thoughtful replies. It sounds like many of you had bad experiences at Banfield, including as an employee. I will be seeking alternative providers.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2014, 06:46:09 AM »
Wellness plans are not worth it. Banfield is the most expensive vet on the planet (with exception of emergency vet visits).

Not true! I know of at least one vet practice who is much more expensive...first two visits were the same cost as a year at Banfield (and would have been covered under a wellness plan).

That said, I think after our first year is up, we will probably try shopping around a bit more...

Tami1982

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2014, 01:49:15 PM »
Wellness plans are not worth it. Banfield is the most expensive vet on the planet (with exception of emergency vet visits).

Not true! I know of at least one vet practice who is much more expensive...first two visits were the same cost as a year at Banfield (and would have been covered under a wellness plan).

That said, I think after our first year is up, we will probably try shopping around a bit more...

Prices can vary from city to city too, but in my region they are definitely crazy expensive. Please keep in mind, that I am a person who spends a lot of money on her pets, so I'm not some cheap ass person thinking a $20 exam fee is expensive or something. They also list everything at ridiculous prices at the invoices they give pet parent's so they feel like they "got a deal" with their Wellness Plan. I just adopted a dog that went to Banfield for years. The pet parents gave me her medical records. So many unnecessary procedures, medications, and ridiculous billing. She was being over medicated, vaccinated, and sedated annually for a teeth cleaning. No dog needs a cleaning annually unless that have a very special mouth situation. An example: 4 tablets of Rimadyl. Billed at $72. You can get a whole month at Costco for $26. But you think you got a deal because they made everything so expensive. Her spay paperwork? Said her spay was worth $2,000. It was a standard spay w/ blood work. MAYBE $200. But you think you got a deal because of wellness plan.

I'm sure some places have great employees and vets, but the model that they are forced to work under by corporate means they have to overvaccinate, overmedicate, and over treat so they can earn a profit.

They regularly vaccinate dogs for diseases that aren't even in our region of the United States. They dewormed this dog I just got twice every year when she didn't have worms. When she was on Trifexis - which prevents worms. They have her on heartworm medication when statistically the chances of her getting heartworm are ridiculous. There has been 10 cases in over ten years, and those dogs were Katrina imports. We in the PNW just don't have the climate to grow it. So they gave her heartworm medicine, vaccines she didn't need for regions of the country she has never lived in, Trifexis (which is fine) but then dewormed her with pesticides when she could NOT HAVE WORMS because of she was on Trifexis. It's just ridiculous.

YMMV, as always, but that's my experience. I'm even more passionate now about it because I just read all of her vet records last night. I knew it wasn't a great thing, but MAN, now I'm upset at the chemical/pesticide/over vaccine exposure this poor old dog has had.

dodojojo

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2014, 05:34:09 PM »
More Banfield stories (and to think I only went to them for 2-3 months...)--as I mentioned one of the cats I adopted had major ear debris. Her ears were filthy. Understandably, Banfield tested her for ear mites and prescribed ear cleaning solution even though the test came back negative. Her ears didn't clear up so Banfield ordered another test--again negative and another solution to buy. Ears are still filthy. I ask how why my cat's ears are still stuffed with debris and Banfield's testing can't find an active ear mite infection. Banfield doesn't know but hey let's run another test.

I go to the new (now current) vet and ask him about the ears. Does he run another test? Ask me to buy another cleanser? Nope. He tells me ear mite infections often result in long and persistent debris even after the mites are gone. And some cats have oiler ears that are prone to debris build-up. His diagnosis was to keep cleaning the ears and eventually it would clear up. It took quite awhile but true enough, the ears eventually cleared up. And he was right, this particular cat's ears have always had a bit more oil in her ears while her sister's ears are squeaky clean. That or she cleans her sister's ears while her sister is slacking off with the reciprocal cleaning.

justajane

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2014, 05:51:10 PM »
Once Banfield charged me an extra $15 for "urine disposal." I wanted to tell them to give me the cat's urine and I'd dispose of it for free.

Sibley

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2014, 10:23:23 AM »
I'm a pet owner, and the most important thing to me is to build a relationship with one person whom I can trust. This takes time, but when you have a good vet who knows you, that is priceless. I'm willing to pay a little more if I have that, and I'll be loyal.

I have a cat who lost almost 2 pounds in less than 6 months. The vet (new - I moved long distance) was freaking out, but I was delighted. If it had been my old vet, she would have asked me if that was worrisome and I would have explained the massive lifestyle change that resulted in the (much needed) weight loss. Now I have a vet that thinks I'm nuts because I'm happy about something that is normally a sign of a serious problem. We'll see if we can progress past that, if not I'll be vet shopping again.

A previous incident, with the old vet, the same cat lost a few ounces and knew there was a problem because of the background. Ran a blood test, figured it out, and treated the problem. All fixed. The vet knew me, and trusted me to know the cats, and I trusted her to add the medical knowledge and treatment.

This in contrast to a vet that I was taking the 7 week old kitten who wouldn't eat to - they didn't seem to care that I had an animal that was quite literally starving to death. I dumped them, and gave them quite an earful when they contacted me "Arwen's due for her checkup". Yeah right, she would have been dead if I hadn't found a new vet.

Returnoftheyeti

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Re: Banfield Pet Hospital
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2014, 04:45:56 PM »
Just a "Me Too" on hating on Banfield. I took my cat there once to get checked out, it was a weekend and they had no issue just "getting her in". I had also just moved to the area. They had me leave her, and come back, which I was uncomfortable with, and when I got back they said they had problem drawing blood as she had bit the vet tech.

Now, I believe that may have happened, but I can not imagine what the vet tech would have to do to this cat to provoke her to bite. Maci NEVER bites, nips, or shows ANY aggression. EVER. My other cat? Sure, she gets a bit riled up, and she plays and nips. Maci is the gentlest cat I have ever had.

Plus, all they wanted to do was push their plan.

Never Ever again......

(PS, This was in Daly City, CA)