Tomball College Vet Tech Program Goes High Tech With Digital X-Ray Machine
A recently acquired digital X-ray machine is helping Lone Star College–Tomball students stay on the cutting edge of technology - even before the school of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University.
Just this February the Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology program began using a CR Idexx Digital Radiography System which enables students to take digital radiographs - or X-rays - of injured animals to diagnose medical ailments. The machine produces results in seconds bypassing the time, expense and dangers associated with conventional X-ray methods.
"The traditional method of taking X-ray images uses film which is expensive, takes time to be developed, and uses chemicals that can be hazardous to handle which is particularly unfavorable in a teaching hospital environment," says Director of the Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology program Doctor of Veterinary Medicine George W. Younger.
"The new CR digital unit is similar to digital cameras that most people are using now to take regular pictures only our version is a sophisticated and excellent medical tool which will add greatly to our ability to teach our students."
In a medical setting most anyone can identify an X-ray - the black and white plastic sheet affixed to a light source that reveals bones and other internal structures including items that may have been swallowed, masses or broken bones.
"The X-ray can provide a medical snapshot of what is going on inside of our animal patients and now with the digital version these images can modified or improved and then printed or shared via email to any student or colleague, anywhere," says Younger.
Younger adds that X-rays are particularly helpful in the case of animals - who cannot physically communicate their pain or medical issue.
"And any time that technology can reduce the time it takes to identify the location of a problem, the better off our animal patients will be," says Younger.
The $60,000 CR digital X-ray unit was purchased with funds from a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Perkins Grant (federal funds earmarked for improving workforce education programs) and Younger predicts it will pay for itself in just five years in money saved on the reduction of materials needed for conventional X-ray methods.
Acquisition of the unit was considered a "coup" of sorts for the Lone Star College–Tomball program as it was put into use a full semester before Texas A&M University in College Station - a school nationally renowned for its veterinary program, says Younger.
"Our graduates will be able to help their bosses understand this technology as it makes its way into more and more hospitals and practices," says Younger, who adds that digital radiography is currently being used in about 20 percent of veterinary hospitals in Texas.
Although digital X-ray is the "wave of the future" Lone Star College–Tomball Vet Tech students are being taught in both formats in order to prepare students for whatever their potential work environment might have to offer, says Younger.
"This is the trend in radiograph and Tomball graduates will be prepared for today's technology as well as for tomorrow's."
The Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology program offers a 72-hour Associated of Applied Science Degree in Veterinary Technology, which upon completion, enables students to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and the Texas State Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) exams - requirements to become Registered Veterinary Technicians.
The Vet Tech program also offers a three-semester Certificate in Veterinary Technology program which provides students with the credential of Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA).
For more information on the Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology Program, please call (281) 351-3358.
Tomball College is a member of the Lone Star College System. Lone Star College System comprises Lone Star College–CyFair, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Lone Star College–Montgomery, Lone Star College-North Harris, Lone Star College–Tomball, six satellite centers and The University Center.