This past winter my twelve-and-a-half year old dog ... was in a fracas in a hole with a large critter. Upon leaving the field (and the carcass since I helped her a bit) I noticed my Old Girl limping on her back left leg. I kenneled her and the next day she was still limping. Her daughter, who had worked the critter as well, had been bitten in the face and had a big hole in her lip and behind one canine tooth. Antibiotics for her. I looked at my Old Girl still lame leg and found it swollen and the skin on the adjacent belly bruised. I kept her kenneled for several days and she remained lame but the swelling and bruising healed. I took her to the vet just for his opinion. He said it was a torn cruciate and that he had a surgeon on call who could operate. I actually laughed at him and told him there was no way I would put that kind of money into a twelve-and-a-half year old dog, much as I loved her and used her. She's the best rabbit dog in the pack. I took her home.
Two weeks later she was using the leg, hunting as usual, going under sheds after quarry and running rabbits just as she did before. The large muscles on the back of the leg are slightly atrophied but the lameness is gone. My vet stopped by with his girlfriend, who is a vet student at Blacksburg and I trotted my Old Girl up and down the driveway, challenging them to find any lameness. My vet knew which leg had been lame but his girlfriend could see no lameness. She said she has learned that it's not necessary to operate on dogs under forty pounds and that they usually heal in their own way. My Old Girl sure did.
Thanks for your post on knee surgery. What a scam!