Answer to Question #11109 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Diagnostic X Ray and CT

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

Q

I took my dog to the veterinarian to have a hip x ray. The problem was that the veterinarian staff could not control my dog, so they asked me to help. They were going to provide a protective apron but for whatever reason they ended up taking the x rays while I was not wearing any protection. I was holding my dog's head. I am afraid of what can happen to me, although they said it was low radiation. I am scared. Can you please help me? Am I in danger?

A

You are in no danger. The amount of radiation you received is less than your dog or the image receptor (e.g., the x-ray film) received. So, while your exposure could have been less had you been wearing protective apparel, it really would be insignificant and of no health consequence. 

Three common methods of reducing radiation exposure are (1) time, (2) distance, and (3) shielding. There was no shielding because protective apparel was not used. To some extent you have distance on your side, since you were holding the dog's head while the other end was being x rayed. But time is your biggest protector. This is not something you do regularly, but only on rare occasions, so your exposure time is low. (If you decide to make a career out of holding dogs while they are getting radiographed, then you should definitely wear the protective apparel.)

Kent Lambert, CHP

P.S. I hope your dog is better. Here’s a picture of mine.

Answer posted on 3 November 2014. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.