As I'm sure you have all figured out, we have a furry family member named Roxie. She's a shepherd mix, a little over a year old, and we love her dearly. She's loving, protective, goofy, beautiful, energetic and loyal. We want nothing but the best for her... which is why I am SO ANGRY at Banfield.
According to our regular vet (Flowers Mill... they are great), Roxie was due for her bordatella vaccine. A vet visit ($45) plus the fee for the shot ($25) is pretty pricey, but necessary. I remembered that we had a coupon for a free office visit at Banfield, so I figured that since Roxie was in good health, I would use this coupon to get her vaccinated and only pay the shot fee.
If you know me in real life, you know that I'm a researcher. I educate myself before making important decisions... such as when and if to vaccinate my child. I admittedly have not put as much research into vaccinating my dog, but I have looked into it. I decided that she DID need the bordatella vaccine, since she frequently is around other dogs and occasionally boards at the Pet Hotel. However, I noticed in my research that there were less side effects reported when dogs received the injected vaccine as opposed to the intranasal vaccine.
When I called to make our appointment, I specifically asked for the injected vaccine. I was told that this was no problem, that our office visit would be free, and that we would be responsible for the $25 vaccine fee. Wonderful!
We arrived for our 5pm appointment at 4:50 and checked in. Around 5:10 we were shown to exam room and told that a nurse would be with us shortly. I use the term "exam room" loosely. This was a CLOSET... with no windows and no ventilation. The hazardous waste container on the counter had used needles sticking out of it and the floor was dirty. I was stuck in this dirty stuffy closet with my dog, husband, and two year old daughter for AN ENTIRE HOUR! Finally, after an hour had passed, my husband went out to the desk and asked when we would be seen, as not a single person had checked on us in that entire time. A few minutes later a nurse rushed in, explained all of the payment plans available if we wanted to become routine customers, asked a few questions, and rushed back out. I asked her to find out if Banfield carried Sentinal (the heartworm/flea meds our dog takes) and she said she would find out. I never saw her again.
About ten minutes later the vet came in. After talking to my daughter and putting her stethescope in my daughters ears without asking me (ewww!) she finally got to my dog. She whipped out the intranasal vaccination and completely ignored me when I said "that's not what I thought she was getting". She asked me to help hold Roxie still while she administered the vaccine, effectively dripping it all over my hands. She dissapeared out the door while I was washing my hands and that was the end of that.
When we went to the counter to pay our chart/bill wasn't ready. We waited another ten minutes for them to enter what was needed and print out a bill. I was informed that our total would be $71. I explained to the receptionist that our office visit was supposed to be free. She made the adjustment, we paid and left.
Fast forward to yesterday... Roxie has a cough and is making a sneezing/gagging sound along with a raspy sounding bark. My husband mentioned that it may have something to do with the vaccine, so I hopped online and did some research. Sure enough I found a ton of websites saying that this is a common side effect of the intranasal bordatella vaccine. People reported that their dogs had these symptoms for 3-4 days and it usually cleared up on it's own.
I called Banfield to let them know and ask if there was anything I should be doing to comfort her. The woman who answered the phone told me that she needed to ask a vet. She put me on hold for a few minutes and when she came back she informed me that "the vet said that there is absolutely no way that this was caused by the vaccine." I said, "Ok, that's not what I've been reading online, but what do you suggest I do?" She asked me if Roxie was eating (yes) drinking (yes) eliminating (yes) and acting normal (yes). I told her I would watch the cough for a couple days and bring her to our regular vet after that if she was still suffering or got any worse. The receptionist told me "The vet said to bring her in tomorrow if she's still coughing. There is no way this is from our vaccine. Oh and since you aren't on a payment plan, the visit will NOT be free." I said "ok thank you" and hung up.
It was THE WORST experience I have ever had at a vet's office and we will not be going back. I'm going to write Banfield a letter about our experience and I'm also going to let PetSmart know, since they are housed in their building. I think that PetSmart is fantastic... we love their store, their grooming salon, and the pet hotel, so I was sad to have such an experience at a vet that they are associated with.