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Banfield Clinics - Does anyone use them?

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    Banfield Clinics - Does anyone use them?

    I'm wondering what everyone's opinions are on the Banfield clinics inside some PetSmart stores. I received information about their wellness plan and it seems like an interesting alternative to pet insurance and cheaper than my current veterinarian.

    I love my current vet but recent events have made me wonder if I should make the switch to a different clinic. My vet has become very popular in the past because of cheap prices and good care, he was your typical country vet. But the increased clientele has caused him to have to expand and add new vets and as such, he's dramatically increased his prices. They've nearly doubled for routine services over the last few years. He went from being a two vet practice with 24-hour on call emergency care to being a 7 doctor clinic with no emergency care. The annoyance for me yesterday was that he's now no longer taking CareCredit. I keep a CareCredit solely for veterinary emergencies. I like the fact that for most bigger bills, I get promotional zero interest financing. That makes unexpected bills so much easier to manage. My dog injured her leg yesterday and I took her in expecting to use my CareCredit and after we got out of the exam room, I go to the front desk only to be told "Oh, we're not accepting that anymore!"

    The care and service at the clinic have certainly changed. My family has been with the owner vet for more than 25 years and it's no longer that country vet atmosphere we loved. I don't want to have to leave them but think it may be time. I know Banfield won't be that country vet atmosphere, but I love the fact that I could do their wellness plans to spread their routine services into monthly payments throughout the year, get free office visits with membership and then receive a discount on all other services. Not to mention the late Saturday and Sunday hours are great for a single lady who works a full time Monday through Friday gig.

    I think my concern for Banfield is the retalization of healthcare. Kind of like the DeltaDentals where it becomes less about good solid medicine and more about getting you to buy as much as you possibly can. Is anyone a current (or former) Banfield client? Do they push you to buy things you don't need or want to meet their "quota"?

    Only used them once to examine and give shots to a cat I took in as a stray. They did a good job but it was routine work. Vet was friendly and so was vet tech. The bill was not any cheaper than regular vet, but I did not have their program paid out of pocket.


      If all you're looking for is a vaccination clinic, I'm sure Banfield is fine. My experiences w/ Banfield clinics have not been from a customer standpoint, but from a professional one (in a couple of capacities). I personally wouldn't take my dogs to one.

      They're really not set up to be a veterinary "hospital" so that won't resolve your concerns about lack of emergency care or even sick pet care. Being a chain, they do not have the ability at the local site to waive a policy, discount a service, or generally do anything that's outside the lines when it comes to customer/patient service.

      If I were in your shoes, I would start looking around for what my emergency options are. There is no such thing as an "emergency vaccine" really, so as far as I'm concerned, pretty much any clinic can do the vaccines. But if you're wanting to have a good relationship with a clinic who can take care of your pet when he/she is sick, injured, etc then I'd find THAT first and vaccinate with them second to help develop that relationship.

      If it came down to vaccinate at Banfield vs not vaccinate, I'd vaccinate at Banfield. But I wouldn't rely on them to be "my vet".

      Also...if you do elect to vaccinate at Banfield, I'd strongly recommend that you keep accurate records of your own as it can sometimes be difficult (in my experience) to get vx hx from them.
      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


        Original Poster

        Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
        Being a chain, they do not have the ability at the local site to waive a policy, discount a service, or generally do anything that's outside the lines when it comes to customer/patient service.
        Oh, good point! I hadn't thought of that. My dogs are kind of special needs. Watson is three and he hasn't had the easiest go of things. He had a pretty severe run with parvo as a puppy, also had coronavirus, has pretty substantial allergies, and occasional bouts with colitis, gall bladder issues and has had a run in or two with pancreatitis. He only has one eye so we do regular checkups on his good eye and go once a year to the opthamologist because his breeding leaves him pretty predisposed to eye problems. We just want to catch anything early to try to preserve his sight. Eden is nine and she has some allergies, though not as severe as Watson's. She's had a few orthopedic injuries in the last few years that have been pretty labor intensive from a recovery standpoint. She came to me with pretty advanced periodontal disease and requires dental work 1-2x/year.

        I'm able to stay on top of most things but really need someplace that will be able to accommodate me quickly in the event that Watson has a gall bladder attack or Eden decides to play crash test dummy and break herself. I also want a place that's accepting of me forging relationships with veterinary specialists for the care of my pet's special needs instead of trying to hold patients so close to the office that they limit their care.


          I'd sell my plasma before I'd work for that organization.
          Just sayin'...
          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


            Search for the other threads on Banfield. I would not take any of my pets there.


              My only experience was with a cocker I adopted. Her previous owner was very ill and a friend took the dog to a Banfield in Lousville after she had several urinary accidents in the house.

              Not only did they neglect do a urine test and culture, but they gave her a Cernia shot at 1/2 the required dose. When I got her to my vet, they had to dose her again, because there was no way to know what was going on.

              Not if they paid me would I use them.
              Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                I have a friends who are vets at Banfields across the country and their biggest complaint is that they're required to use certain antibiotics/drugs/vaccines/etc as stated by the company's SOPs. It greatly limits the vet's ability to treat animals they way they want to.


                  With your pets having some issues OP, I would focus on forming a relationship with a local veterinarian who has the facilities and expertise to accommodate your needs.

                  I don't think Banfield will cut it. I'm not saying that the vets or techs who work FOR Banfield are bad. Not at all. Everyone needs to get their foot in the door. But it really isn't set up to be a full service clinic from my observations.
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                    where it becomes less about good solid medicine and more about getting you to buy as much as you possibly can.

                    I would avoid their wellness plans like the plague. They push all sorts of totally unnecessary "preventative" services.
                    If you just use the bare minimum of "regular" vet care and pay for that out of pocket, and buy pet insurance to just cover the really expensive stuff, it will come out far less than the Banfield plans. And your animal will be better off, because throwing all kinds of unnecessary "preventative" health care at your animal isn't beneficial.


                      Banfield has great hours, and they'd be fine for run-of-the-mill vaccinations, etc., but every experience I've had with them beyond that (rescue cats in a Petsmart, NOT my own), has left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not a vet, but I'm pretty darn well informed and it bothers me when I consistently disagree with diagnoses and care plans.

                      Oh, and just yesterday, I asked which bacteria was found in an ear culture. I have a post-double lung transplant patient who needs to be sure that the pathogen isn't zoonotic. Banfield's answer: cocci bacteria. Cocci is a shape--round--not a name/species. Major *head desk* moment.
                      Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                      You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                        I used to work at Petsmart and if one of the in-store animals was sick we would take it to Banfield. Mostly it was hamsters with wet-tail, or lizards with eye infections that they treated for us. Based on my experience I probably wouldn't take my own pets there.

                        Not sure if it was Banfield, but a (clueless) friend of mine adopted a kitten from one of the local vet clinics. It was "free" but you had to pay for the $900 "kitten package" that included all medical care for the 1st year of the kitten's life. WTF?

                        Oh - and surprisingly (not) it was a bad idea to give a kitten to 2 toddler boys. The poor thing was terrified and my (dumbass) friend ended up returning the kitten. Wonder if she got a refund?


                          I had a negative experience with Banfield. Was coming home from a dog show several states away with a couple of young wolfhounds, and saw a Petsmart and thought the hounds might like a break and a toy, and their first rabies shot, so stopped, just needed the rabies shots.

                          The bill was over $400. The vet thought their ears were dirty, and maybe they needed some ear meds. Fine, I said. They never told me how much the ear meds would be- (and I have plenty of various ear meds at home, for every conceivable ear issue, this was not anything I was concerned about).

                          Anyway, I was fortunate to have a friend who worked for Banfield who was able to get me almost the whole amount refunded.....but I will never go back, even for the simplest thing!


                            I did use a kitten package for my cat when I first got him. I did not have a bad experience but after moving never gone back to one in a different city. I don't remember having anything extra done, other than they were zero help with his early weight and skin issues (he doesn't do food with grains and was getting over weight until I switched him), their only answer was feed him less.


                              We take our strays there for vaccines and have never had an issue for their routine work.

                              While one of the cats was there the vet noticed (something our regular vet didn't notice) in the eye. She even took pictures to send it to colleagues to ask around. She ended up diagnosing and treating his eye problem. We've had good luck with them, but I wouldn't take the critters there for much more than vaccines.


                                It depends entirely on the hospital and who owns it.

                                Some are privately owned as a franchise, some are owned by a group of vets and some are corporate owned.

                                There is *one* in my city that I take my dogs to. It is privately owned and the vet who owns it is great. The others in the city I wouldn't touch with a 10ft pole. The Wellness Plans are a good deal when done right. Done wrong, they're just a platform for the vets to get you in the door to push a bunch of extra stuff you don't need.


                                  I would not go there.


                                    Run far away.

                                    The amount of things we have seen referred over that were either misdiagnosed or improperly treated was staggering. While I'm sure they are more than capable of vaccinating (well evidenced by the dog with a serious autoimmune issue they gave a rabies booster too) I don't think they are good at handling problems.

                                    Because I feel it is so important to have a relationship with a vet before there is a serious issue I wouldn't try using them for vaccines and trying to find another vet for illnesses. When your pet is sick it's stressful enough without having to deal with a vet change.
                                    You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!