A smart approach for safer imaging: Lower the dose

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 a medically important 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.

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. This is why IDEXX supports the Lower the Dose campaign, focused on educating veterinary teams about the importance of radiation safety.

When veterinary professionals work together to elevate radiation risk awareness, we all benefit. Visit www.lowerthedose.org to learn more and take the pledge.

Written by Michael 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.

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