Verjean Lunenschloss

email Verjean
(214) 675-5292


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let’s start with a couple of apropos links to Banfield stories in the media.
Lawsuit alleges Banfield put profits over pets

(good luck getting through ALL these complaints, many of which are simply heartbreaking, and most of which were because of insensitivity, or complete incompetency…)

Okay….let me share my stories.

#1. This first story is a first-hand revelation. It happened TO me. Summer. 2008. Summer of “fleas”. Now, normally my dogs are flea-free, and without benefit of monthly poisons. But, every so often you have a summer where a few fleas get a foothold. I have very good luck with Advantage or Advantix, use it rarely, and only for as long as needed. As much as I detest Banfield, I know Advantage is OTC, I happened to be across the street from PetsMart, so I was just going to stop, grab some Advantage and head home to treat some itchy dogs. Well, where the Advantage “should” be on the shelf, there is a note to “see the customer service associate”. I’m perplexed, but go in search of an “associate” who promptly tells me I will need a prescription. “No, I don’t”, I tell him. And now he decides to argue with me a take a bit of a ‘tude with me. And at which point, I give him a schooling in “tude… At which point he sheepishly agrees that, “no, it doesn’t require a prescription, but Banfield wants to check out each dog before using the product. He says I can get an immediate appointment at Banfield, and have them examine the dog, and write a prescription. I point out, I didn’t BRING a DOG. “Oh…that’s okay”….they don’t need to see the dog, they can just write the prescription for you”. (Poor thing…he was trying his best to carry the company “line”…but was now just tripping all over himself…) At which point, I tell him he’s full of bullshit, and I KNOW it’s an OTC product, and if they don’t wish to sell it to me…I’ll go to PetCo. I’ve purchased it there before, and I’ll spend my money there. Which is what I did. I haven’t set foot inside a Petsmart since. And won’t. It doesn’t help that Petsmart will not utilize any docked, cropped, or intact animal in their advertising. And prefer not to use males at all, because they have penises. I’m NOT kidding. I have a talent agency for a couple of my dogs, and she is the one that told me after I submitted a portfolio to the ad agency looking for the dogs, that MINE were NOT APPROPRIATE, and then explained “why”. I think I said something about telling Petsmart to shove it “somewhere not mentionable here”.

#2. This is a first-hand account as I was a part of this story. I was contacted by an out-of-state breeder (Great Dane) who was placing a cropped puppy in this area, and wanted to insure that experienced support was available to her adopting family, especially in terms of on-going ear care and posting. She had already contacted the couple’s vet, and was assured that the puppy would be in good veterinary “hands”. This couple had previously owned “pet” Weims, and had used this vet for years. And owning Weims, is pretty good credentials for owning just about ANY other breed! So, everything goes very well, the puppy is cropped and the couple picks him up about a week later and let’s him settle in for two or three days, and then take him for his well-puppy visit. As soon as the staff at the clinic sees the puppy, they are HORRIFIED!!! And start berating the couple. “HOW ON EARTH could you do that to a puppy? You ARE monsters! Do you know just what you have put this poor thing through? WHO is/are your “breeders” and where do they live? You are awful people for allowing this to happen!” Ad infinitum. Ok…puppy sees vet. Vet diagnoses RAGING ear infection, and again scolds the couple for cropping him, and that’s why he is suffering this awful infection. The ears need to come down, and stay down. AND REMOVES THE STITCHES which he states are the reason FOR the infection. His ears are NEVER going to stand! And proceeds to prescribe one of the most powerful and expensive antibiotics available. The couple actually felt fearful that they might be reported for cruelty. They went home with their puppy, in tears, called the breeder, who called ME in hysterics!!!! “The puppy has only been there FOUR days, and his ears were checked the morning he left…and everything was fine”…”how could this happen?” “could you please call them, and check the puppy and get back to me?” “They are terrified!!!” Yes, I’ll make a couple of calls. I called the couple, asked a few questions, and then gave them a local vet who does cropping and is a practicing veterinarian, and actually has owned and is very knowledgeable about Danes, cropping and overall health. It was an hour drive to this vet for the couple, and I called the vet to see if she could work them in the next day. And asked the couple to call me as soon as they saw the new vet. There was NO, repeat NO, NO, NO infection. Ears clear. Antibiotic stopped IMMEDIATELY!!! Ears were reposted. Ears were healed so well, at seven days, that removing the stitches early did no real harm, and the ears looked marvelous. The couple has been making the hour drive to their new vet, and are very happy and satisfied. The original vet…of course, Banfield. And here’s the interesting part. Remember, the breeder called prior to placing the puppy, to speak to the vet…to confirm the couple as a good home, and to confirm the clinic would support them. When I called the breeder, if she had KNOWN that the vet was Banfield, she would have instructed her new family to FIND a new vet, but Banfield answers the phone, “veterinary office”…and the doctors identify themselves by name. No where in the call to Banfield by the breeder, was Banfield EVER identified. Might be a good question to ask if you ever call a vet that doesn’t identify themselves by the name of the practice. All’s well in this story. But what a horrific experience, and completely uncalled for.

#3. I also have client that lost a schnauzer because it was given vaccinations that she had not authorized. The dog was not elderly, but was getting on to late middle age, and she wanted to be very conservative about vaccinations at this age. The dog had also recently recovered from some minor illness, and the owner had specifically requested only Parvo and Distemper. WITH NO Rabies at that particular juncture. She would vaccinate for Rabies in six or eight weeks, as a singular vaccination. When she returned to pick up her dog, the bill showed a 7/1 WITH Rabies administered as well. She about passed out. When she questioned the vet, she was told there were “standard” protocols, and those could not be deviated from. Her dog lived through several months of autoimmune issues, and was euthanized about seven months later due to so many issues that had not existed prior to the vaccinations and which were auto-immune in nature. Specialists that treated the dog after the Banfield experience, were amazed at the vaccine protocol used for an older dog.

#4. And today…another Dane couple took a puppy with cherry eye (a not-common, but also not unusual condition in loose eyed breeds) to a Banfield vet. Many minor cases of this condition will resolve on their own, and are sometimes just a part of the growing-up process. Like Pano or HOD. However, they can be of such condition that surgery is required. This is the first “potential” show dog this couple has purchased. Again, they have previously owned dogs, and have used this Banfield vet….but these were just “pets” and therefore had the usual vaccinations, had been spayed/neutered, and although Banfield offers healthcare “packages” giving discounts and incentives on many common well pet and routine procedures, they had never purchased one previously because of cost. But, since this was a potentially valuable show puppy, they purchased one of the packages. And it did offer some discount on this type of surgery. AND OF COURSE, Banfield was going to recommend surgery. Just one problem. When the couple went to pick up their puppy from cherry-eye surgery, it had also had it’s testicles removed. Yes, he was neutered without owner consent. Now Banfield seems to look at their healthcare “packages” as contracts, and since this “package” included a discount for sterilization surgery…they claim that they can decide when it is best to perform the sterilization surgery. Never told the clients they were going to do it…nor did the clients request it. They thought it was simply an optional discount “should they decide” at some point to neuter. An attorney has been contacted. I’ve also been told by a vet tech who USED to work for Banfield, they can sue for replacement cost of the puppy. But his breeding potential is gone. And without being intact, he cannot be shown. So his show career is dead. At five months.

Be afraid. Banfield is a HUGE AR supporter, and also has quotas that they work out in conjunction with Petsmart. It is a common practice for many of the products offered at Petsmart to be available only through Banfield “prescription”. The ex-manager I spoke to, actually told me that on Monday mornings, Banfield and Petsmart management set quotas for how many office visits should occur that week (referred from Petsmart) and what the minimum amount each Banfield visit should “net”. Banfield is incompetent and greedy, making people pay for services, tests, or drugs that may not be necessary…worse yet are those cases that are misdiagnosed and left untreated or improperly treated. AT the expense of the very animals they are supposed to care about. Animals suffer, and in many cases, have DIED unnecessarily. Banfield BAD. Banfield should be put out of business. And until Petsmart divorces them once and for all…I will give business to neither.