Kennewick vet clinic first in the state to have high-definition CT machine

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Another level of care is being offered to pet owners at the Horse Heaven Hills Vet Clinic. The office has introduced the Vimago.

It’s a high-definition CT machine, providing high-quality images of an animal with extreme accuracy and clarity. It’s the first one in Washington state. They’ve been working on getting this piece of technology after the owner heard about it in California.

“It’s a little bit different than the traditional CT,” said Dr. Sheila Erickson, owner of the clinic. “As opposed to taking several slices of x-rays, ours can take a continuous image of our patients in shorter time with less radiation.”

Erickson’s CT machine will stay in one place, rotate and take 720 x-rays per revolution. One of the biggest perks is not having to travel to Washington State University in Pullman for a traditional CT scan. Erickson said they don’t have the HD technology.

“There’s really a need for it so our patients don’t have to travel,” she said. “We can give them the answers they need.”

The process is non-invasive and the images come out clear. It’s transferred to a computer where it comes out in 3D.

“We can take the images that we get and can virtually walk through our patients,” Erickson said. “We’ve never been able to see anatomy in 3D.”

She even has virtual reality goggles to help the patient understand what is going on with their pet.

“It allows us to see different things, soft tissue structures that we couldn’t see without contrast,” Erickson explained. “It makes a big difference on how we treat our patients. We take the information and the images that we get we use it to make different decisions on how we treat them.”

All in all, the machine has lower radiation, faster imaging, better imaging, better technology and less cost, Erickson said.

“We’re so limited because our patients can’t communicate with us, so being able to offer one more level of care — to offer one more non-invasive diagnostic tool that we can use to get information on how to treat our patients – it’s pretty phenomenal,” she said. “I think we’re really, really excited to be able to bring this type of technology to central Washington to let not just the Tri-Cities, but the surrounding areas have access to this.”

Currently, Erickson is working on getting a 3D printer. She said they can print out an image of possibly a joint that needs to be repaired. They can then give the model to the orthopedic surgeon for more accuracy of the injury.