Question: have you ever disected a rat? we are about to at school, any tips? we are looking at the heart?

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  1. I dissect mice all the time for my work, we have “mouse models” of leukemia that we use to generate and collect samples. Rats are pretty similar, I believe, just bigger. To get to a mouse’s heart (which we do to collect blood, using a needle), we make the first incicsion in the abdomen going across the body, and then cut up and down the length of the body from there. Then you use forceps to move the liver out of the way to access the diaphragm, in which you make a small incision on one side to allow air into the chest cavity. Then you cut the diaphragm following the line of the rib cage to expose the chest cavity, fold the rib cage up, and there is the heart.

    Mouse hearts are really too small to use to look at heart biology, so hopefully the rats’ is bigger. When I was in school we dissected a pig’s heart, and it was very interesting to work out which vein led to which chamber and vice verse by sticking something in one end and watching where it comes out (we used our fingers, but that might not work for a rat-sized heart!). Make sure you poke something through though; it is a really interesting organ. Good luck!


  2. I never dissected animals in schools so I don’t have any advice, sorry!