Though X-ray technology constantly saves both human and animal lives, continued exposure to radioactive waves could cause bodily damage. To limit exposure, veterinarians and their technicians should adopt the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle, which encourages a limited amount of time spent with X-ray devices, a safe distance away from the machines when possible, and the daily use of shielding equipment. Read on to learn more about the ways to lower radiation exposure in your veterinary practice.
Who Is at Risk?
Veterinary technicians routinely obtain radiographs, and the cumulative effects of that exposure could be a serious problem. But no one knows for certain how much radiation exposure a person can handle before they experience massive amounts of irreparable cellular damage. There is some well-documented evidence, however, that female veterinary staff experience genetic damage to their reproductive cells that could cause birth defects.
Keeping with the ALARA principle, one of the best ways to lower radiation exposure in your veterinary practice is to minimize the amount of time spent around radioactive materials. Technicians should work with their equipment as quickly as possible and avoid retakes if they have the option.
It can be difficult for technicians to keep their distance when operating X-ray machinery. Very often, technicians must hold down the animal throughout the test so they can get a high-quality X-ray. However, there are ways around this problem. Technicians can sedate the animal and then hold them down with sandbags or non-human restraints. This would allow the technician to keep the patient in place while keeping his or her distance.
Thankfully, there are products available to help technicians protect themselves against radiation. Absorbent materials like lead aprons, thyroid shields, and gloves provide a barrier to capture X-rays. Using these products, a careful technician can feel safer while working with their patients.
ExamVue Digital X-ray wants nothing more than to see our products being used safely for the betterment of animals. If you are in the market for new X-ray equipment, consider our flat panel X-ray detector, a fine addition to any practice.