9.1INTRODUCTION 9.1 INTRODUCTION

Radiology is an important aid to diagnosis in geriatric patients. It can help in the early detection of problerns before clinical signs are evident and it can help in devising a plan for the management of a case. For example, all animals with neoplasia should be radiographed for evidence of secondary spread to the lungs or other vital structures before surgical attempts at removal. Care is needed not to overinterpret radiographic findings for example it is dangerous to consider intrathoracic masses as being secondary metastases simply because a previous neoplasm was removed at an earlier date.

The ability of older animals to mask the effects of subclinical disease processes in major organ systems by compensatory physiological mechanisms that maintain homeostasis makes diagnosis and evaluation of such individuals a challenge. Evaluation of the whole animal is particularly important before an elective stressful procedure such as a surgical procedure under general anaesthesia.

Ageing changes occur in various organs and can present as unusual radiographic appearances to unsuspecting clinicians.