A Manchester pet owner said she brought her kitten to a local veterinarian to get spayed but wasn’t prepared for what happened when she picked her up from surgery.
Cherie Nevins said little Elvis is now lifeless and she wants answers about what happened.
Eyewitness News found that Nevins’ complaint against the Banfield Pet Hospital in Manchester was not the first. Hundreds of others like hers were uncovered.
Nevins said Elvis is now nearly 5 months old, but she’s very different.
“The cat was doing circles to the right constantly, bumping into walls, not responding to any of our voices,” she said.
Medical records show Nevins took Elvis to the vet to get spayed. The pet hospitals are located inside of Petsmart stores nationwide. There are seven in Connecticut.
The hospitals offer wellness plans for pets.
Nevins said she bought one for $40 a month.
When she picked up Elvis last week, she noticed something wasn’t right.
“They called me at 1:30 p.m. and said the cat was waking up from anesthesia and she's perfectly fine,” she said. “[I] got there at 3 p.m. and [they] handed me the cat and she was foaming at the mouth and under major distress.”
Eyewitness News called the Banfield Pet Hospital and Dr. Ari Zabell, a client advocate, provided this statement:
At Banfield Pet Hospital, we care greatly about our responsibility to providing the best care possible to our patients. Upon review of Elvis’ medical records both by us as well as by an independent specialist caring for him, it appears that Elvis experienced rare adverse effects from anesthesia during recovery. All appropriate precautions were taken with regard to Elvis’ anesthesia including proper use of drugs, monitoring, and screening for anesthesia and it appears that this adverse event was something we were not able to either predict or prevent from occurring. Our local leadership is currently working with Elvis’ family to ensure that Elvis gets the best care possible and we are hopeful that he will continue along a path towards a full recovery.
Nevins said Elvis can neither see nor hear. She has seizures and doesn’t know when she needs to go to the bathroom. She also has to be fed by hand.
“She can't eat hard food anymore, she doesn't know how to chew it,” Nevins said.
Nevins has to do that three times a day.
“I have to put the food into the bowl and put it in her mouth and constantly turn it,” Nevins said. “She can't see it.”
Not satisfied with Banfield’s explanation, Nevins said she took Elvis for a second opinion from a vet in West Hartford.
That vet told Eyewitness News that “something happened during surgery. It could have been a stroke, blood clot or lack of oxygen to the brain.”
Medical records also show that Elvis was given a leukemia shot. While some vets said that is acceptable, others don’t recommend giving the vaccine while a cat is under anesthesia.
Looking at Banfield Pet Hospital’s history, the Better Business Bureau said it had an A+ rating.
However, Eyewitness News also found more than 700 complaints from pet owners nationwide.
"My Yorkie was brought to Banfield lethargic and not feeling well,” one pet owner from Alabama wrote. “They vaccinated her with a Lyme disease vaccine. By the time we got home she was having seizures and almost died. Two weeks later she is still in the hospital..."
Nevins said she had advice for pet owners.
“They should really research their veterinarian hard before you bring them,” she said. “That's for sure.”
It’s so others don’t go through what she did.
“She ain't that cat no more,” Nevins said. “She's like a vegetable, she doesn't play.”
For information about filing a complaint against an animal hospital, users can fill out a form online here or call the state Department of Public Health.
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