Kitten TwigMy life completely changed 5 years ago when a small 1 pound orange kitten came into my life. He was continuously getting dropped off by the SPCA of Wake County because they were worried about his intermittent bloated appearance and what appeared to be difficulty purring. On exam, it was determined that he probably had some sort of abnormality affecting his windpipe and/or his esophagus. He had multiple x-rays, ultrasounds, sedated laryngeal examinations, and we talked about him at length in our doctor rounds, but we were not able to truly diagnose him with the technology and information we had available in our clinic at that time. 

Of course this precious little orange kitten became a “foster failure” with our family.  We named him Twiglet due to his scrawny size and has since been the most loving pet I have ever owned. You would think a cat living with a 3-year-old would be hard, but he seems to relish it. They share pizza and pop tarts, he gets carried around like a baby doll, and he gets dressed up like a princess. Twiglet is a huge part of our family’s life and I constantly worried over him because I was never able to give him a proper diagnosis. He continued to suffer from intermittent bloat which we could not accurately explain, therefore, anytime he needed pills he physically wasn’t able to swallow them-which resulted in having to bring him into the hospital to get subcutaneous injections.

Lu and Twig snugs
Lu holding Twig Hand
Lu and Twig stairs

I had pretty much given up hope on finding the exact and accurate diagnosis of Twiglet and resolved that I would give him the best and longest life I could…Until we decided to invest in a brand new technology.

Vimago no gownsAfter months of anticipation we finally installed our Vimago HDVI in December. I knew this would finally allow us to determine with certainty what was wrong with Twiglet. The easiest way to describe the Vimago HDVI (High-Definition Volumetric Imaging) system is to liken it to a CT (computed topography).  This is a new, proprietary, and patented imaging technology that is able to produce incredibly detailed 3D images of a pet’s anatomy. It also has an onboard digital radiography and fluoroscopy; which allows us to create real-time, moving x-ray images that help better enable diagnosis. The Vimago uses considerable less radiation than other devices, which decreases your pet’s radiation exposure time compared to other imaging devices.

Twiglet was sedated for an HDVI scan of his neck and afterwards, when he was fully awake from the anesthesia, we were able to perform fluoroscopy to assess his swallowing as he had a snack in the scanner. For the first time, we were FINALLY able to see, using the fluoroscopy feature, Twiglet had a stricture (narrowing) in his esophagus affecting how well he could swallow. We were not able to see this with a traditional radiograph because it was only visualized with the Vimago’s ability to create the moving x-ray (fluoroscopy). With the innovative imaging, we were able to build a 3D image of Twiglet’s neck and determine he has a congenital anomaly affecting his trachea and esophagus. Having this crucial diagnosis has been key in helping him have a better quality of life and we are hoping he will be around forever since he is such an integral part of our family. It has also helped put my mind at ease about what is going on internally with him. 

Click here to see Twiglet’s Fluoscopy Video

“Who knew such a small orange fluff ball would have such a lasting effect on my life,”

-Dr. Lisa Mendise 

If you think the Vimago would be beneficial to diagnosing your pet, please feel free to call the Care First Animal Hospital at Oberlin in Raleigh. For more information or check out the Vimago page on our website, and if you are not currently a client with us, please contact your primary care veterinarian and ask them to send in a referral.