Banfield Pet Hospital / overcharged for poor care, led to cat death
Like so many others, I feel like I was led by my heartstrings to open my wallet, not only to come up empty but to lose my darling cat in the end!
We'd been taking our cat to Banfield for about 2 years and while the care seemed a bit brisk, the staff seemed nice and the hours were convenient. One complaint regarding overcharging was when they charged us $35 for an office visit to vaccinate our cat, not telling us beforehand that if we'd walked in between 2-3 THAT SAME DAY they did vaccination clinics without charge! We were miffed but let it slide.
Our cat had been checked every few months (he was fat and had anal issues) but hadn't suffered from anything serious until January when he suddenly stopped eating. After a day or so, I got really worried and took him in.
We took him in and after many tests, the vet diagnosed him with diabetes and a respiratory infection. The total for this discovery was over $500.
We had to bring him back the next week for a glucose check. That was another $75 or so. Then we had to bring him in the week afterwards for a glucose curve to pinpoint his proper dosage. That was ANOTHER $200 or so.
Meanwhile, our cat initially showed improvement, but then started going back downhill within 2 weeks. Four weeks after his first diagnosis, he had lost several pounds (an average of a pound a week after being on a diet for over a YEAR and not losing that much weight), he was much more listless, he was dehydrated, and he was showing increasing loss of balance and vision. We took him back and they did yet more tests on him (Another $300) and said it was because his glucose wasn't regulated. More glucose checks. Within another week, he was in even worse shape - he'd stopped eating on his own and had become incontinent and needed to be hand fed and watered. I made ANOTHER appointment and begged the doctor to see if there were any other factors or illnesses that needed to be addressed. The vet did a once-over and was like, "Well, I don't see anything." But he did need to be hydrated. That was another $80.
All this time, the vet acted cavalier, like my cat was just inches away from being cured (even though he seemed somewhat clueless as to the cause of our difficulties in actually doing so), while simultaneously suggesting that he needed hundreds of dollars of tests to "pinpoint" what was going on. This happened until I was literally out of money except for my next month's rent and said so. Then I got the guilt trip that I obviously wasn't willing to go the extra mile for my cat. I was kicking myself for sticking with Banfield by this point, but felt that I just didn't have the time or money to seek alternative care. I was stupidly optimistic that the vets seemed confident that they were on the right track, and I decided to trust them. Big mistake!
I wish this story had a happy ending, but it doesn't. The sixth week to the day, my poor precious cat was so weak and ill that we had to let him go. We never were able to stablize him medically and it seemed obvious to us that he was suffering from some other illness that the vets either misdiagnosed or just plain missed.
Even during that last appointment, though, the vet on staff had the nerve to ask us if we were "finished with treatment" (while we're crying and the cat is barely breathing) AND overcharge us for the euthanasia, including an office visit, of course! The quoted price was around $100 but we were charged over $160 in typical Banfield fashion, where they quote the price of dinner as $25 but don't let on that they'll be charging you another $5 each to use the plate, fork and knife.
After so many visits and so much money spent for nothing, I strongly suspect that Banfield isn't in the business of actually diagnosing and curing animals. Banfield is in the business of testing animals. From what I've read of the other complaints, it seems that Banfield is happy to test pets pretty much to death unless you're smart enough to go to a real vet.
I just find it hard to believe that it cost well over $1000 to essentially FAIL to treat my pet for a relatively common disease. At no point beyond the first week did my pet show any signs of improvement- quite the opposite- yet the vets acted like his deterioration was business as usual and displayed no sense of urgency in modifying his treatment or recommending alternative care. In fact, even the week before when my cat was in even worse shape and the plan was to switch medication, they decided instead to "wait and see." Basically, they waited until they could see him get put down!
I just can't wrap my mind around it. Either my cat was suffering from a common illness and the vets were too incompetent and/or financially unmotivated to treat it properly, or my cat was suffering from a serious illness and they just bled me dry until the inevitable happened. Which is worse?! Either way I was traumatized and my cat, who had the loving patience and temperament of a saint and hardly complained even when the needles were coming fast and fierce, was made to suffer for weeks. I can't even think of that without feeling my heart break all over again.
We have a new cat now and Hell will freeze over before he sees the inside of a Banfield.
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