Another exciting aspect of a veterinary technicians daily work is taking x-rays. After the veterinarian has discussed the procedure with the client, it is up to the vet technician to do the rest. Nearly all veterinary hospitals have an extensive amount of patient x-rays that are kept in order with a numbering system. It is up to the veterinary technician to log all x-rays as well as create new x-ray folders for patients that have never had films taken. The vet tech will also add the x-ray number to the patients chart. Once the vet tech has prepared all the necessary paperwork, they will measure the patient using a calibrated measuring device. It is then up to the technician to set the x-ray machine to the right settings for the particular shot that is going to be taken. The veterinary technician must make sure that the measurements and settings are correct, otherwise the x-ray will turn out too light or dark and need to be repeated. The vet tech is also responsible for using the right size film for the particular x-ray that is being taken. Now that the patient has been measured, the machine set, and the proper film put in place, it’s time for action!
Usually the doctor will sedate the patient before the vet tech starts the process of taking the x-rays. Once the patient is sedated it is up to the technician to properly position the patient for the particular x-ray that needs to be taken. The veterinary technician wears both a lead apron and lead thyroid shield, as well as lead gloves for protection from the radiation. Once the vet tech has the patient in a proper position, they press the pedal that activates the x-ray machine. If all goes successful it is then the technicians duty to process the x-ray film through a processor. The processor is located in a dark room where light cannot ruin the film that is in it’s cartridge. The vet tech removes the film from the cartridge and processes using the procedures outlined by the processing machine.
Once the films have developed from the processor the doctor can view them using a back-lit x-ray viewer. If the doctor views the films and says that they are good, the technicians job is finished! Although, some hospitals do have digital scanners for x-rays. If that is the case, it is the veterinary technicians responsibility to scan the x-rays (usually the films are uploaded to a radiology specialist) and provide all necessary patient data that the doctor receiving the films may need to know.