Taking him to the doctor today, we highly doubted that he'd be coming back. We told the kids this, because we didn't want them to feel blind sighted , and they reacted about how we expected they would. It was a hard day. I was so thankful Lyle was with me. He actually had to carry Olaf into the exam room. The nurse took a look at him and said that she'd take him into the back room and have the doctor examine him there. That can't be good.
When the doctor came to talk to us, he said, "I don't know what he has, but I know he's very, very sick." His temperature was 105 and his heartbeat, which he said should be about 80, was 200. His gums were not their normal pink color, but a sickly gray. They started him on IV fluids and began blood work. We returned 2 hours later and learned that the blood work, surprisingly, looked normal. They took radiographs and there were no obvious masses. Cancer is rampant in the ranks of berners, so we thought for sure that's what they'd find. He's not even quite 7 years old, hardly geriatric, but with the bane of cancer, Bernese Mountain dogs have an average life expectancy of only 8 years.
With the IV fluids, Olaf's gums have pinked back up and his heart rate is down, but the doctor still suggested we transfer him to an emergency center to spend the night. We elected instead to bring him home. As long as he's reasonably comfortable, he's happier here and the kids wanted so badly to see him on our porch once again. We need to check in with the vet tomorrow and we have an appointment scheduled for Monday. The best case scenario is that he has some raging infection and that the meds he's on now will knock it out. That's what we're hoping for and we owe it to him to try that route. But if that's not what it is, we also owe it to him to stop his suffering. With all that he's given to us over the years, that's the least we can give him in return. Please, oh please let it be an infection.
What we wouldn't give to see him looking like this again.