Veterinary Technicians: Performing X-rays - Vet Tech Guide

Veterinary Technicians: Performing X-rays

Veterinary technicians are responsible for performing a variety of essential tasks in animal clinics, hospitals and other facilities that offer veterinary services.

One of the most common of these tasks is taking and developing x-rays.

While it is up to the veterinarian to determine if an x-ray is necessary, it is typically the vet tech who performs the procedure.

Preparing an X-ray

After the veterinarian has ordered an x-ray, it is the vet tech’s responsibility to locate the patient’s x-ray folder or create a new one if necessary.

If a new folder is required, the vet tech will need to number it according to the facility’s unique numbering system. Every x-ray must also be logged in the facility’s x-ray log book and added to each patient’s medical chart.

Once all of the required paperwork has been completed, the veterinary technician will measure the targeted area of the patient with a calibrated measuring tool.

Next, the x-ray machine must be set to the proper settings for the desired image. Settings that are too high or low can create images that are too bright or dark.

Finally, the vet tech will want to choose the right size film for the requested x-ray.

The X-ray Process

animal x rayAfter all of the preparations have been completed, the veterinarian will give the patient a sedative, and the vet tech will begin the x-ray process.

The first step is to position the patient properly for the intended x-ray.

Next, the vet tech will need to dress in appropriate clothing, which includes lead gloves, a lead apron and a lead thyroid shield.

This clothing helps to protect the technician from excess radiation exposure. With the patient in the proper position, the next step is for the veterinary technician to activate the x-ray machine.

After the image has been taken, the x-ray film must be placed in a processor located in a dark room.

It is essential that this room remains dark as any type of light can damage the film. As such, the vet tech should not take the film out of the cartridge until he or she is in the dark room.

After the film has been processed, it is then turned over to the veterinarian who views it using a special x-ray viewer.

Digital Scanners

In some cases, veterinary facilities may use digital scanners to view their x-rays.

In these situations, the veterinary technician will need to scan the x-ray and upload the film to the veterinarian ensuring that the necessary patient data is provided with the coinciding film.

These are the basic steps that are involved in performing an x-ray on an animal patient. As you can see, veterinary technicians play an essential role in the entire process.

In fact, from the moment a veterinarian orders an x-ray to the moment he or she discusses the film with the pet owner, there is a vet tech behind the scenes ensuring all goes well.

Specializing in x rays is one of the top 5 specialties. – learn more.
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