image of Radiography
Online Access: £ 25.00 + VAT
BSAVA Library Pass Buy a pass


The radiography department of a small animal practice is an important area, both in terms of facilitating accurate clinical diagnosis and with respect to essential legal requirement. Practices must be able safely to produce radiographs of diagnostic quality for all species being treated as well as to ensure the clinicians accurately interpret the images. This chapter discusses controlled areas, radiography equipment and managing imaging services.

Preview this chapter:
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



Image of 13.1
13.1 The controlled area. Normally the whole of the room in which the X-ray tube (shown here in an upright position) is situated is designated a controlled area. The controlled area must be described in the Local Rules, physically demarcated and have sufficient signs. Ideally there should only be one entrance. In this room the X-ray machine controls are situated behind a protective screen.
Image of 13.2
13.2 A warning sign incorporating the trefoil radiation sign and wording such as ‘X-RAY CONTROLLED AREA. DO NOT ENTER WHEN LIGHT IS ON’ must be provided at each entrance to the radiography room.
Image of 13.3
13.3 Warning lights must be provided at each entrance to the X-ray room. In this example, the controlled area light illuminates when the equipment is connected to the power supply, and an additional red light becomes visible below the yellow wording when radiographs are being taken and states ‘DO NOT ENTER’.
Image of Untitled
Image of 13.4
13.4 A simple X-ray machine of the mobile variety. The tube head has been mounted on a vertical stand, which enables variation of FFD (film focal distance) but the tube cannot be moved over different areas of the table. A moveable table can be helpful with this type of set-up.
Image of 13.5
13.5 A ceiling-mounted X-ray tube head. This type of mounting provides much greater flexibility in manoeuvring the tube. The tube shown here is tilted for an angled exposure; this can be helpful for obtaining intraoral views, decubitus views and oblique skeletal radiographs.
Image of 13.6
13.6 Special devices can be attached to the end of the radiography table to facilitate patient positioning and restraint. One such device uses a system of grooved metal plates and locking cleats which are used to secure thin ropes.
Image of 13.7
13.7 A dog positioned in a trough. Sandbags have been used to pull the forelimbs cranially, and there is a foam wedge under the dog’s head for comfort. Positioning troughs can be stored by means of a simple hook on walls within the radiography area. (a, reproduced from )
Image of 13.8
13.8 If essential for a dyspnoeic or stressed patient, a screening radiograph can be obtained through a cardboard box. The lid can be closed (provide airholes or oxygen supply) for further calming effect. (Reproduced from )
Image of 13.9
13.9 Callipers are extremely helpful to measure the thickness of the body part being radiographed and should be used in combination with a technique chart.
Image of 13.10
13.10 Personal protective equipment must be available for occasions when the presence of a person within the controlled area is essential. Equipment should be carefully maintained and stored and checked regularly.
Image of 13.11
13.11 Lead gowns should be hung on appropriate hangers when not in use.
Image of 13.12
13.12 It is very important to have a wide range of cassette sizes available for small animal radiography. In particular, the large size 35 × 43 cm is required for exposures of the thorax or abdomen in a large dog. Imaging plates for digital radiography also come in a variety of sizes (some are shown here).
Image of 13.13
13.13 Lightboxes of adequate size should be available for viewing films. Films should be viewed in a quiet darkened room.
Image of 13.14
13.14 In CR, an image reader is used to process the imaging plate. These come in various formats, and in large hospitals automatic loading systems can be utilized.
Image of 13.15
13.15 There are many different types of digital monitor available. This figure shows a standard PC monitor (left) next to two medical-grade monitors. It is important to choose the correct monitor to make a radiographic diagnosis.
Image of 13.21
13.21 Guidance notes for the safe use of ionizing radiations in veterinary practice are published by and available from BVA. These notes outline the legal requirements for establishing the use of X-rays within a practice and should be readily available to all members of staff.
Image of 13.24
13.24 Personal dose monitoring is a legal requirement. A thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) is shown here. TLDs are marked with the wearer’s name and must only be used by that person. In addition a TLD or a film badge (as shown here) can be used to monitor environmental radiation levels within various areas of the room. It can be very useful to have a system of pigeonholes or a clipboard area to keep the dosimeters together and facilitate return and replacement after wear. The storage system should be located in an area of the practice sufficiently remote from the controlled area.


Sample risk assessment, letters and Local Rules

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error