Radiography is vital to the best practice of veterinary medicine because it enables the detection, understanding, and treatment of a variety of health issues. Accompanying these benefits, however, are risk factors associated with radiation exposure, which every veterinary professional should take to heart.
To help raise awareness of radiation safety best practices, IDEXX is collaborating with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR) on an exciting new initiative: Lower the Dose.
About Lower the Dose
The Lower the Dose initiative provides the opportunity for our industry to collectively take a major step forward to improve in-practice radiation safety by directly engaging veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and staff members through a website that provides timely and relevant radiation resources, news and safety programs, and state guidelines.
Lower the Dose members can download posters, attend online courses, and download a variety of templates aimed at keeping radiation safety top of mind among veterinary professionals at all levels.
If you haven’t visited the site yet, be sure to check it out—and remember to take the pledge (scroll down and you’ll see it).
A need for more education around radiation safety
Radiation safety philosophy is based on the conservative assumption that radiation dose and its biological effects on living tissues are modeled by a relationship known as the linear hypothesis. Simply put, every radiation dose of any magnitude can produce some level of detrimental effects that may include increased risk of genetic mutations and cancer.
With that in mind, the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle aims to lower doses received by radiation workers by leveraging practical, cost-effective measures. For veterinarians, applying the ALARA principle can help create a safer work space.
Of course, the effectiveness of any safety measure is limited to the level of awareness surrounding it, which is why we saw a need for a campaign like Lower the Dose.
New technology as part of the solution
In addition to helping raise awareness, IDEXX is working to lower the radiation dose veterinary professionals are exposed to through solutions such as our IDEXX ImageVue DR50 Digital Imaging System, launched in 2016 as a low-dose or lower-dose veterinary radiography system. The ImageVue DR50 system reduces radiation exposure for pets and veterinary professionals, which is especially important for technicians, who typically are women of child-bearing age.
When veterinary professionals work together to elevate radiation risk awareness, we all benefit.
posted by Michael Q. Bailey, DVM, DACVR
Dr. Bailey is originally from New Jersey, where he completed his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. He obtained his DVM from historic Tuskegee University in Alabama and then completed a small-animal rotating internship and radiology residency at Michigan State University. Before joining IDEXX Telemedicine Consultants, he served on the faculty at Tuskegee University, Michigan State University, and The Ohio State University. He spent 5 years supplying imaging services in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, referral and ER facility and was lead radiologist for a large (950+) hospital national practice. When not working he likes traveling with his wife, rebuilding cars and motorcycles, and photography. He is also an active member and officer of his state veterinary medical association. After the recent loss of his long-time Labrador retriever companion, he and his wife have recently adopted a new pet companion Blaze, a rescue shepherd-mix.