Long story short, my friend had a vet come out to X-ray her horse. Vet made her hold the plates without protective gear and took 4 X-rays. She's NOT happy! Told her she would be fine. He's coming back to perform a shock wave treatment on the same horse and wants to know if there is a need for protective gear with that?
Shock wave treatments do not involve ionizing radiation, so no protection is needed.
Why didn't your friend speak up when asked to hold the plates? I would, and I insist on wearing gloves at least and a lead apron if there are more than a couple of shots being taken and I'm the one holding the cartridges. Yes, the exposure really is minimal, but I get exposed to PLENTY of radiation on the job and am really vigilant about it. The vet should at least offer protective gloves and advise a "holder" on how to stand to avoid excessive exposure, but if your friend knew about it being radiation, she could also have spoken up.
I've held plates many times and never had a vet not offer (require, actually) protective gear for me. Agree with dw that your friend should have spoke up then. Would kind of make me question that vet's judgement, really. Reckless abandon is ok when it affects only you, but not others! What other crazy things might this vet do?
Shockwave does not require protection. No problem there.
I am taking diagnostic imaging this semester in vet school, so protection is something we talk about. Equine practitioners are notorious for being bad about it. In truth, there is very low scatter exposure in studies done which doesn't mean its okay, but she should be fine. She likely got a low dose of scatter as long as she wasn't in the primary beam. Next time she needs to insist to be protected or just not hold the plate. I would hope the vet would be understanding.
I've always been offered protection when holding/assisting during radiographs with a Vet.
Like DW I am exposed at work often and sometimes during life threatening situations for the patient. We still always use proper precautions.
I would suggest you make a nice phone call to the vet office and just say "You know at the time I didn't think about it but I am a little concerned about the procedure that was followed while x-rays were obtained..." and see what they say. I would let them know that if protection isn't provided in the future - you will likely wish to use another vet due to safety concerns.
Sure the exposure is minimal but the real concern is cumulative exposure over time. I hope at least that Vet wore protection himself?
No protection for shockwave needed but the horse may need sedation. The sensation from it is not super painful but uncomfortable.
Some vets do wear ear plugs with shockwave, but that's the only protection I've seen. Probably not needed unless you're a vet or tech doing repeated, frequent (as in several a day) treatments.
I'm a stickler for wearing lead (especially gloves!) while shooting radiographs -- no way I would ask a client (especially female) to hold a plate without gloves and a gown. I do find that female vets (as a generality) are much more into wearing full lead while taking radiographs; the only vets I've known who go sans lead are older men.