Dissection of the Blood Vessels

In this lab you will identify all of the major blood vessels that make up the fetal pig circulatory system. This dissection will take 2-3 lab periods. In the first half of the time you will concentrate on the anterior (above the heart) arteries and veins, then finish with the posterior vessels (below the heart) in the second half. As you will see, there is already an incision on the side of the pig’s neck. Latex has been injected into the fetal pig blood vessels through this incision so that the arteries appear pink and the veins blue. Be aware that these colors are not always reliable. Sometimes the latex does not get into all the vessels as it should so they appear collapsed and discolored, and sometimes the muscle layer of arteries can weaken so that they appear pale blue. Thus, remember that the color of a vessel is only of limited usefulness in identifying it. You will need to use other clues (location, etc) to be completely sure.

Before you begin, recall the following information regarding dissections:

  1. Only use your scalpel or scissors when absolutely necessary. Clean your specimen by removing matertial with the tweezers or probes, not by cutting.
  2. Never walk around the lab with a dissecting instrument in your hand. Leave them at your lab station.
  3. Never dump waste tissue in the sink. All waste material goes in the garbage can.