It is important to review the presenting history in detail, perform a comphysical examination and perform laboratory screening tests of geriatric animals for signs of subclinical disease or impaired organ function.

The author advocates the following as a minimum pre-surgery screening programme for geriatric patients:

(1) complete blood count and differential
(2) haematocrit
(3) total serum protein
(4) serum urea
(5) serum creatinine
(6) serum electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chlorine and calcium)
(7) blood glucose
(8) serum bile acids
(9) ECG examination
(10) urinalysis - protein, pH, glucose and sediment.

In an ideal situation the following would also be included in a geriatric screen:

(1) T4
(2) serum ALT, AP
(3) survey chest and abdominal radiographs
(4) arterial and venous blood gas analysis
(5) systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurement.

It is important to review recent medications and existing diagnostic information such as previous radiographs, or laboratory data.