If you read my earlier post today, you saw how ill our family pet has been. Argos Nicopoulos King is a golden lab about whom people are always astonished to learn his age because he has the heart of a puppy. He is almost 12 years old. Doggie Needs E.R. (Part 1) focused mostly on our anxious search for emergency care when Argos turned up so ill he was not walking, no tail wagging, was listless, and was so bad off my husband had to turn Argos’ head to the side when our pet vomited (so the dog wouldn’t choke).
I’ve arrived home from Germany to no doggie greeting at the door. Argos is laying on a blanket not far away, uneaten food, full water bowl and an untouched dog biscuit nearby. He doesn’t raise his head to even look at me. So I sat, then laid down on the floor with him and finally receive a bit of a tail wag. After a while he raised his head a once to listen to our younger sons who I’ve just brought home with me. I offered Argos his water while his head was raised and he drank a bit.
The news from the Dutch vet is not as good as we’d hoped. Argos was very dehydrated and given an entire bag of IV fluids today. The vet said Argos was not running a fever which is, in his words, “bad news.” A fever points to something treatable. I keep hoping that perhaps he has diabetes since thirst is a symptom and that also is treatable.
A spot of good news is that although Argos got into the trash and ate several indigestible items about 10 days ago, he is not suffering any bowel obstructions or stomach pain whatsoever. That is “unrelated” what to ails him.
So what does ails our beloved family dog?
Answer: Unknown–at this point.
Blood work shows elevated white blood count, no identifiable virus, and very low blood sugar. His kidneys aren’t quite right, although they are filtering. His pancreas might be an issue. His thyroid might be malfunctioning.
Treated for blood sugar and dehydration, given shots for pain and antibiotics as well as an energy boost. The vet prescribed thyroid medication, antibiotics and whatnot, the hope is that Argos will improve by Monday when he will see the vet again. If he is improved, it means something we’re doing is working. If nothing seems to help, it means he is an old dog, facing organ failure, and we will lose him in the near future.
The vet was pretty grim, “50/50 chance,” he said.
But a few minutes ago when Argos raised his head, I prompted “Outside?” and he looked toward the door. When I went to unlock it, my doggie made a failed attempt to rise. I said, “Stay,” went and opened the door and carried him outside (58 lbs, but don’t tell my physical therapist). I set him gently in the grass. He stumbled against the hedge, wobbled a few feet forward and squatted to relieve himself for a long time.
To me that looks like progress.
To me that looks like hope.
Kristin King is an author, optimist and an American expat living in the Netherlands with her husband, four sons, and their golden lab, Argos Nicopoulos King. (Disclaimer: she has not been instructed to limit her lifting by any healthcare professional. 😉 )