Professional veterinarians would never perform treatment without reliable equipment to help them gather information. That’s why if there’s anything just as important as correctly operating your veterinary X-ray machines, it’s maintaining them. As the number-one tool for creating detailed internal images, these devices are at the epicenter of a successful veterinary practice. So, if you’re not sticking to regular cleaning and upkeep, you could find it difficult to diagnose ailments and develop solutions. This is the importance of caring for veterinary X-ray equipment and the steps to most effectively clean and repair these machines.
The Benefits of X-Ray Equipment Care
Clean and fully functional X-ray devices provide your practice with a series of benefits, and all of them contribute to your overarching success. This is what you gain by making care a part of your core business routine.
Safety is paramount when working with X-ray equipment. Since these machines use radiation to create their digital images, too much exposure can be harmful to the patient. Because of this, you must take extra care to limit the amount of time an X-ray device runs as well as to control the distance between a pet and the source of that radiation. The fact of the matter is that poorly maintained machines are much harder to control. This puts these parameters out of your hands and puts the patient at an unnecessary risk. As such, regular care is essential to ensuring these tools are safe to use.
Properly cleaned X-ray machines are also better at staying within the designated calibration guidelines. As previously stated, these devices are only allowed to output a certain amount of radiation while a patient is under examination. For this reason, calibration is essential to monitoring the amount of radiation released and adjusting the parameters accordingly. With maintained equipment, this process becomes much more accurate and simplifies it in the future.
Less dust along the interior of your X-ray machine can yield higher-quality images as well. When your machine goes uncleaned for extended periods, dust, fur, and other particles can build-up near the camera lens. This debris then shows up in your X-ray images, making it much harder for you to capture a clear picture of the area. So, regular cleanings are also one of the best things you can do speed up the X-ray process and make more efficient use of your resources.
ALARA, or As Low As Reasonably Achievable, is a principle that dictates the amount of acceptable radiation exposure when using X-ray equipment. This method simply states that professionals should aim to keep their dose levels as low as they can to avoid adverse side effects and illness. Finding ways to reduce this risk is legally required and veterinary practices could be liable should an animal sustain radiation sickness under their care. Fortunately, because maintained equipment is easier to calibrate, this process also helps you keep your practice compliant with industry standards.
By performing regular cleanings and maintenance on your X-ray machine, you’re lengthening the amount of time you’ll have it. These machines aren’t a cheap investment and keeping your current equipment operational can save your practice money. With enough time, you may even have the extra funds to upgrade to higher tech digital fluoroscopy machine.
How To Care for Veterinary X-Ray Equipment
Now that you’re aware of the importance of caring for your veterinary X-ray equipment, it’s vital that you understand how to do so. The more often you clean and repair these machines, the better they’ll work for you in the long run. Here are a few tips to remember.
First, you’ll want to make sure you’re performing regular inspections. These checks should involve examining each part of your X-ray machine for damage and running it to see if it malfunctions. Inspections are a great way to diagnose problems early on and address them before they cause issues during an appointment. Once you identify faulty components, you can then ensure that they’re properly replaced.
Once you know that the mechanical parts of your X-ray machine function correctly, you’ll want to focus your efforts on cleaning. Dusting the inside of your device as well as the outside helps keep particles away from the camera lens and preserves the quality of your images. This process also prevents buildup near essential joints, allowing your equipment to move as it needs to. For a thorough clean, it’s recommended that you wipe away dust and dander at least once a week. This way, you’re less likely to experience interior buildup.
After removing the dust and fur, take some time to re-grease high-voltage cables, tubing, and gears. This keeps everything lubricated and capable of moving into the proper position during the X-ray process. Make sure to avoid over-lubricating these components, as the excess can drip onto other parts and inhibit equipment functioning. Should you have any specific questions about this part of the cleaning procedure, reach out to your equipment supplier or consult your product’s instruction manual.
Mechanical and Electrical Testing
Then, lastly, follow up with additional mechanical and electrical testing. Otherwise known as FSE, this series of tests include checking safety interlocks, warning lights, and activating essential sensors. These features are all responsible for maintaining safety while the device operates. FSE also manipulates the equipment’s calibrating axis to verify motion controls. Running the machine post-cleaning allows you to see if your efforts yielded a better performance. It also brings your attention to any areas that are still malfunctioning and require additional repairs. Fixing these things now can not only help you better do your job, but it can even give your patient a more accurate course of treatment.
Putting the right amount of care into your veterinary equipment is the key to a long and successful practice. So, don’t put off this task any longer. We at ExamVue Digital X-ray want to provide professionals with the equipment and information they need to help their patients. Whether it be our state-of-the-art machines or our knowledge, let us be a resource you can rely on.