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Old 01-02-2012, 10:58 AM
 
103 posts, read 148,778 times
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Hi - I'm currently using Banfield (Springfield) and their advanced plan that covers their routine vaccines/visits at $40/dog. Does anybody that live around the area have any thoughts on:

1) Quality of service from Banfield,
2) other vets in the area that you'd recommend and
3) type of plan available that covers routine vaccinations/visits?

So far, the only type of pet insurance that I found is VPI and that doesn't seem to cover routine vaccinations. Also, is using Banfield's wellness plan really worth it/saves money? It seemed reasonable but not sure if its actually cheaper than if I were to just pay for it at the time of the visit the full cost. Those comparable bills from Banfield makes it convincing that I'm saving ton of money.

Thanks
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,986,759 times
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I can't comment on Banfield, but since you're in Springfield, I can pass along my neighbors' high regard for Kingsview Vet on Beulah Road, where they take their cats.

I'm also curious about Banfield; there's a Target with one of them very near us, and I'm tired of the high vet bills from our current vet. We can hardly get out of there without spending $300. Thyroid tests alone (just to verify the dosage for his routine hypothryoid medication) totaled about $400.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 01-02-2012 at 02:28 PM..
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,590,320 times
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I'm not a big fan of Banfield because of the lack of consistency. They tend to have a very high turnover rate there. For routine things like vaccines, it's not a big deal, but when my dog is sick I like going to a place where I know the vets have a long standing reputation, even when it's a large practice.

I don't know what you pay to be a part of Banfield's "Wellness Plan", but I'm curious what "routine vaccines" are included in that $40 visit. My dog's 3 year rabies/distemper shot was $22 last year (so $7/year) and her annual bordatella was $19. If I just want her shots, the technician will administer them without an appointment, so I don't think there's an exam fee. If that's all that's covered, then your $40 isn't much of a deal, since I get the same thing for $26 and change.

The costs add up when you throw in all the tests I do each year on her--a heartworm test ($39), a fecal test for giardia/worms ($39), and a general physical examination ($54). (I compete my dog in agility, so I like to know that all her joints and such are still good). If all that's included in your $40 fee, it's a much better deal.

I go to Columbia Pike Animal Hospital in Annandale, and have always been very pleased with their service. I can always get in that day when necessary, and they're open until 10 pm daily for those of us who work and can't go to the vet at 2:00 in the afternoon!

There are tons of pet insurances out there--but LOTS of them have escape clauses in there, restricting what they'll cover. Got a cocker spaniel? They tend to have eye issues, so eyes aren't covered. Shepherds aren't covered for hip displaysia. Labs' knees aren't covered, etc. Some companies consider an injury/illness "chronic" if it requires vet visits across multiple years, and they'll discontinue coverage. Some are better than others in that regard. Nearly all require you to pay up front and then submit claims for reimbursement. It pays to do your research!

I've heard positive things about Trupanion & Petplan, but here's a comparative review of zillions of different options:

Compare dog insurance - Pet Insurance Review
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:00 PM
 
103 posts, read 148,778 times
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Ah, I should clarify, the $40 is per month per dog, so I pay $80 per month. It seems like it's not really cheap anywhere else and wellness plan just allocates the cost over the year. This does cover teeth cleaning so that might be worth it.

I'll vouch for the poster above about high turnover rates. The one at springfield has had ton of turnovers since I've been going there for last 5 years.
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Does it cover anesthesia for dental work? Or just scraping off plaque? Because my groomer will do the latter for $15. Anesthetizing is at least $400+ at the vet, so if it covers that it's a good deal, but I'd be hesitant to put a dog under more than a couple times in its life if it can be avoided.

The cost for all the regular stuff each year for my (relatively healthy) dog is around $150-200, assuming no need for xrays or thyroids or stuff like that. (Not including the cost of heartworm and flea/tick meds). $40/month seems high for that...that'd be $480/year. It must cover something beyond just vaccines and a physical, or else I'd think you'd be better off going elsewhere and putting your $40/month in your sock drawer so you're ready each year
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,187 posts, read 6,841,942 times
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The Banfield insurance plan is a good deal if you stick to what is on the plan. Don't let them talk you into the extras that many like to deliver guilt-trips about. Keep in mind that they are very revenue oriented and will pressure you to get services done that are not necessary. If you can resist their pushy sales tactics and high turnover because of the pressure that their staff feels, then go for it. I personally prefer to just put money aside based on what I expect yearly expenses to be (worst case scenario) and see a vet that is a bit more conservative. Our vet would be too much of a hike for you, but I am sure that you will find a great one outside of Banfield that may not only save you more money but give you better piece of mind. Good Luck! It is so hard to find a great vet and it took us a while to find the one we now have.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:40 PM
 
103 posts, read 148,778 times
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Is teeth cleaning a normal routine for all dogs on an annual basis? The $40 per month includes anesthesia and prior to putting my dogs under it for the first time, I did note that it was a dangerous procedure for dogs. But, I decided to go through it anyway cause the vets kept insisting on it.

Are there any other acceptable methods that people do to keep their dogs' teeth clean without putting them under?
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:20 AM
 
7,970 posts, read 9,735,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastRider6 View Post

Are there any other acceptable methods that people do to keep their dogs' teeth clean without putting them under?
You can keep your dogs teeth clean by brushing them regularly or allowing them to chew on raw (not cooked in any way) bones at least once a week.

Also, please note that no company is going to lose money under these wellness plans. Insurance is for emergencies, but if you are paying monthly for the basics, you are likely paying too much.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:24 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,986,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
You can keep your dogs teeth clean by brushing them regularly or allowing them to chew on raw (not cooked in any way) bones at least once a week.
We started to give our dog soup bones but then read something online (posted by a vet) that bone fragments often send dogs to the hospital when they get into their digestive tract. So we stopped.

Our dog won't let us brush his teeth for more than 10 seconds, so I'm meaning to buy some of that Plaque Attack, PetzLife, or TropiClean.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:11 AM
 
7,970 posts, read 9,735,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
We started to give our dog soup bones but then read something online (posted by a vet) that bone fragments often send dogs to the hospital when they get into their digestive tract. So we stopped.
By "soup bones", do you mean bones leftover from making a soup? Bones that were cooked in a pot with the rest of the meat?
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