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All Friends Animal Hospital

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All Friends Animal Hospital Reviews (1)

Review: Approximately two months ago, my husband scheduled vet appointment for our dog to get his rabies vaccination. When I arrived for my dogs appointment a week later, I was told on arrival that he was due for his rabies vaccination, as well as distemper. I was also informed that he HAD to have bloodwork done to test for heartworm and tick borne diseases and he was required to have a kennel cough vaccination in order to go to the groomer the following week. The doctor then returned and said that my dog tested positive for Anaplasmosis, a tick borne disease. I expressed my surprise to the doctor because my dog had absolutely no symptoms of Anaplasmosis (lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy and not eating). In fact, my rambunctious golden retriever is the opposite of these symptoms. She disregarded my concern and said it was best to nip it in the bud and put him on a 30-day, intensive round of antibiotics. She also gave me a hand-out titled Anaplasmosis in Dogs." Needless to say, I was shocked when I got to check out and was told I owed $340.88. I paid the bill and was given an itemized receipt. When I got home and began to review my documents and make some phone calls, I could not believe was I was seeing. I was charged for a fecal test that was not performed ($29.00). I was NOT required to have a kennel cough vaccination ($22.00), as stated by the doctor. I was also NOT required to have the blood tests performed ($69.88 and $35.00). However, my greatest shock came when I began to review the Anaplasmosis in Dogs paperwork given to me. Page 2 of the handout discusses instances where healthy dogs (like mine) are seropositive (have a positive test result). Apparently up to 40% of dogs living in areas with a lot of ticks (which we do), can test positive because they carry the antibodies without actually having the disease. It goes on to say that treating these dogs is of questionable benefit and not generally recommended at this time.

Desired Settlement: I have filed a dispute with my credit card company and would like a refund of $255.88, the cost of the unnecessary tests/medication, as well as the services not rendered (fecal test). We are willing to pay for the office visit, as well as the rabies vaccination and distemper ($85.00).



Business Response /* (1000, 5, 2013/08/09) */

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing this letter in reference to case #XXXXXXXX. I would like to start by stating that All Friends Animal Hospital is a member of AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), and we pride ourselves in providing quality care to our patients and clients while maintaining up to date medical protocols and customer care policies. There are no recommendations that we make to our clients that we would not do for our own pets. We discuss all recommended services before we provide them, and allow the client to decline any service they wish to. The only service that cannot be declined, by law, is a rabies vaccine.

All of the services that were recommended by Dr. [redacted], the attending veterinarian, to Ms. [redacted] for her dog, [redacted], were valid. A rabies vaccine is not only required by law, but also to prevent a life threatening illness. A "distemper" vaccine is considered a core vaccine for dogs and is required to prevent them from obtaining five different diseases, some of which can be life threatening. The kennel cough vaccine is not a core vaccine, but is recommended if the patient visits areas where this disease is prevalent, i.e, groomers, kennels or shows; most groomers and kennels require that a dog be vaccinated for kennel cough before allowing the dog to enter the facility. A fecal examination is recommended once to twice yearly in an adult dog or cat (reference: Companion Animal Parasite Council) to detect any intestinal parasites that an animal may have; not only for the animal's health, but also humans; several of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. I would like to add that Ms. [redacted] requested that [redacted] receive a Lyme vaccine. We recommended against giving the vaccine since he was already receiving three vaccines that day. We do this in an effort to decrease the chance of side effects. We recommended that she return at a later date with [redacted] to get that vaccine.

The test that we perform annually, called a 4Dx test, tests animals for heartworm disease, and three tick borne diseases, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. Heartworm disease is a deadly disease that is easily prevented via testing and placing your pet on prevention. The American Heartworm Society recommends annual testing and year round prevention. Tick diseases are very prevalent in our area and can cause a variety of health issues, sometimes leading to death. There is no uniform guideline in veterinary or human medicine for tick disease testing; it is a controversial subject with many varying opinions. After much research and thought, we decided to implement yearly testing and treatment as our protocol. We believe that this is the best medicine, because while animals do not always show signs of illness at the time of a positive test result, they will often show signs later, and if treatment is delayed, they can become quite ill. When an animal tests positive for Anaplasmosis, as [redacted] did, we not only recommend treatment, but also recommend a Complete Blood Count. This test, known as a CBC, will reveal to us whether or not the disease has affected the patient's platelets, which it is known to do. This is an important piece of information to use in monitoring the severity of disease and the response to treatment.

The only "error" on our part during Ms. [redacted]'s visit was the fact that we gave her a handout that did not fully correlate with our current protocol; the handout that was given to her was written before we implemented our new protocol. We immediately discarded that handout and made a new one that correlates with our current recommendations. I apologize to Ms. [redacted] for any confusion this caused her.

I personally called Ms. [redacted] to apologize for any confusion this caused her and to try and explain what I've explained here. As Ms. [redacted] was not available, I spoke to Mr. [redacted] briefly, and requested that Ms. [redacted] contact me if she had further questions. Dr. [redacted] also reached out via telephone to address her concerns, Ms [redacted] has not returned her call.

In summary, I would like to reiterate that all of the recommendations that we made were following our protocols, and had [redacted]'s best interest in mind. The recommendations were discussed with Ms. [redacted] and she could have declined any service she did not want to provide for [redacted]. The only thing that Ms. [redacted] can be justifiably refunded for is the pre-paid fecal test.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Dr. [redacted], DVM, Medical Director

Consumer Response /* (3000, 7, 2013/08/12) */

(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT ACCEPT the response from the business.)

The response by Ms. [redacted] is an interesting, and not at all true, version of events. I was never presented with options and allowed to decline services. I have been taking my dogs to All Friends for 10 years and recommended them to many friends and family. I have always trusted in their advice the same way I trust in my children's pediatrician's advice. I didn't know that I had to verbally question treatment as to whether or not it is necessary or required. When told by the Dr. that my dog "needs" certain vaccinations and tests, I believe them because that's part of the trust I instill in them. In this economy, money is tight. However, we love our dog and still want to do what is necessary. I would have never consented to $340 worth of unnecessary treatments if I believed I had a choice in the matter. It wasn't until I got home and did some research and got second (and third) opinions from other local vet offices that I realized how grossly I was taken advantage of. These two offices expressed their willingness to make statements confirming that [redacted]'s treatment was exaggerated and unnecessary.

I'd also like to point out that at NO point did I request a Lyme vaccination. That was yet another one that the Dr. told me [redacted] "needed" but said he was already getting a heavy dose that day and suggestion I come back in a month for it. The only thing I requested that day (and what my appointment was scheduled for) was the rabies vaccination.

And as far as the office trying to contact me? Ms. [redacted] did call my husband the afternoon that we had [redacted]'s records transferred out of the office. He explained why we were upset to which she replied "well, we like to be as thorough as possible." Unfortunately, when you're the one collecting on the bill, you don't get to decide how "thorough" you are... the person paying the bill makes that call. I returned Ms. [redacted] phone call within the hour, was put on hold for ten minutes and then told that she was "in a meeting."

I'm not going to get into some he said, she said match...especially with someone who was not present in [redacted]'s examination room to truly know what transpired. Clearly All Friends is trying to cover their behind. Whether I get my money back or not, the main reason I did this was because what happened to me and my family and my dog was not right. Bottom line is All Friends looked at my dog and saw dollar signs.

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Description: Veterinarians, Animal Hospitals, Veterinary Services (NAICS: 541940)

Address: 420 New London Tpke, Norwich, Connecticut, United States, 06360


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