Banfield Pet Hospital is a chain of veterinary clinics located inside of Petsmart stores. They offer a host of services for animals from routine checkups to surgeries and emergency care. Most Banfield locations are also open on weekends, offering a convenient alternative for those that work Monday through Friday.
I first encountered Banfield 8 years ago when I moved into a new town. They offered wellness clinics for pets where the doctor fee would be waived if you were just there for vaccines. That meant you could get in and out for well under $100. It was a great deal, but you had to go on Tuesday or Thursday. I took a 1/2 day and brought my dog in and I remember being a little sad that they didn’t really offer routine care. No reminders for vaccinations or anything like that. I wanted more of a full-service vet than an a-la-carte option so I went elsewhere.
Fast forward 8 years and the wellness clinics are gone. There’s only 1 vet there and it’s run more like a traditional practice. I had heard some good things about them and decided to bring my dog in again since she had a skin problem and was in need of vaccines.
The skin problem turned out to be a simple skin infection caused by scratching caused by allergies. They gave me a bunch of completely overpriced and unnecessary items, to the tune of $240 total. I was asked to come back for a follow-up in 2 weeks.
I went back in 2 weeks for the follow-up and left $130 poorer, with some ear medications. Apparently they missed an ear infection the time before. Again I was asked to come back in 2 weeks for a follow-up appointment.
Not being made of money and already having sunk nearly $400 into this animal, I had to say no. I went online to look for the heartworm medication my dog was now using and found that the vet charged 2 times what it is online. I looked up the other medication I had gotten for her ears and found that was also 2 times the cost. Shampoo? Times 2. Fish oil? You guessed it. So they are charging twice the online cost for all medications and supplements… that’s insane! So now I’ve spent almost $400 when I could have spent closer to $250 by buying everything online instead.
THIS is why people wait forever to take their pets to the vet. I get that there’s overhead, staff, etc., but these websites are making profit off of the medications, so even if the vet sold for the same price they would make a profit too. Even if they charged a little more, people would probably still get it from the vet for the convenience factor. Charging twice as much seems a bit ridiculous though.
What really annoys me is that I was never given a choice. I was simply handed stuff at the checkout and charged for it. They didn’t say hey, she needs antibiotics. Do you want to fill that here or somewhere else? They don’t give you the option of shopping around and saving money, which in today’s economic climate is always important.
So overall, the vet knows her stuff, but the pricing is crazy. I’ll probably find a different vet… again.