[image from: K9 of mine]

Joanne Burge, IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security

Animals, whether domesticated or wild, bring unique challenges to the field of radiation protection. Naturally, animals don’t tend to cooperate, and veterinary professionals need special techniques to assure clear medical imaging or effective treatment. Large species like horses, cows, lions and elephants require scaled-up equipment that use higher doses of radiation in conventional X ray procedures and computed tomography (CT) to achieve good imaging results. The newly released IAEA report No. 104 Radiation Protection and Safety in Veterinary Medicine from the Safety Report Series, provides advice for professionals in veterinary uses of radiation to help them safely carry out their work.

“There is a growth in veterinary medicine that mirrors the advancement in human applications that use radiation in medicine,” explained the guide’s technical secretary, IAEA Radiation Safety Specialist Debbie Gilley. “A recently observed trend is that more people are acquiring and taking care of animals, resulting in an increase in the use of radiation in veterinary medicine for animals, as they can undergo almost any procedure that is provided to people.”

The new publication provides much-needed radiation safety recommendations to veterinary practitioners and regulatory bodies and is relevant for academic educational programmes in veterinary medicine, professional bodies and suppliers of imaging and therapy equipment used in veterinary medicine. It helps professionals to strengthen radiation protection and safety in line with the technological advances made in the field of veterinary medicine, with clear methodology on the use of radionuclides for diagnosis and treatment in animal health care and the management of radiation exposure to workers and owners from the animal and the waste it produces, which may be radioactive for a short period of time.


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