I'm not a vet or a doctor, but my line of work exposes me to a lot of orthopaedic injuries in humans. If the vet has diagnosed a cruciate ligament (which one?) injury (by the way, was a MRI or CT scan done? Soft tissues like ligaments can't be seen on x-ray) that is not a complete or partial tear, it's most likely a sprain. A sprain is the stretching of a ligament to the point that some of the individual microscopic fibers that make up the structure as a whole begin to rupture. When this happens, the ligament is filled with small deposits of scar tissue as it heals. This is because scar tissue is nature's version of Bondo or wood filler. The the problem with this is that scar tissue is more rigid and not as flexible as regular ligamentous tissue. This means that the relevant joints are now hypermobile because the ligament cannot keep them as taunt as it used to. If the problem isn't treated or doesn't take care of itself, arthritis can set in because the joint surfaces are now ramming into each other more often due to the joint's hypermobility.
If there isn't a complete or partial tear, I don't see why they would be talking about surgery. There's nothing to operate on with a mere sprain. In humans with knee ligament strains, doctors usually advise to talk walks and do physical therapy. Light to moderate activity will usually help to break the scar tissue down. However, moderate to strenuous activity is a bad idea. Steroids and/or other anti-inflammatories usually help, too.
Thank you for the reply! The information is invaluable. It's a partial tear to the anterior cruciate ligament on her back left leg, is what the vet said. The right knee she said is not great either - she suspects there may have already been light spraining and what we're seeing now is the result of a hypermobile knee. This makes me feel bad, because it means I missed previous injuries, but really, I do my best for my dog. They did not do an MRI or a CT scan, only x-rays, from which the vet diagnosed this (that, and lots of palpation of the joint, which Talos did not appreciate, poor thing). I suspect if we go to the specialist, that will be one of the first things there - basically from what you have said, the vet gave us a 'best guess' diagnosis. I figure it's based on pain and what she could feel, but I know nothing about how this might work. We have anti-inflammatories, and while she may walk, she may not run, and not jump. I'm hoping the specialist will help us with long term recovery that does not require surgery.
AMC7181, I agree, if I can at all avoid it, no surgery.
Cellophane, I'm hoping the specialist will give me exercises to help, if this is the case, I'll share them here.
Poor Talos. From working in human orthopaedic field I do know that arthroscopic surgery does repair a torn ACL. But only after it's shown up on an MRI so the docs can see what they are working with.
If it comes to surgery (which I hope it doesn't) I would definitely see if it could be done with a scope procedure as it's much less an invasive surgery.
Hope she feel better soon.
Poor Talos! I know how much she loved all her hiking adventures! I hope the vets can help her. Our Rugby has had bad knees in her back legs since she was 2 yrs old, but after the first troubles which led to her diagnosis of luxating patellas, she seemed to do fine, & we never had any surgery done. Now that she is 11, though, ALL her legs bother her--she has arthritis. I asked our vet if surgery might help her now, but the vet said not when all her limbs are giving her trouble. She is on Rimadyl & Dasuquin now. She does o.k., limps quite a bit sometimes when she first gets up out of her bed. She hasn't ever been as adventurous as Talos, she is much more of a couch pugtato! DH made her steps so she can still go up on the couch.
Best of luck to you & Talos--we enjoy the lovely pictures of your adventures so much. Please keep us posted on how she is doing.