One of the first tasks of the cat dissection is to identify the vessels of the cat. We remove the pericardium from the heart and carefully tease away the connective tissue to reveal the arteries that leave the heart.
If you follow the aortic arch, the first main vessel of the cat is the brachiocephalic artery. It is named because it splits into vessels that go to the head (cephalic) and a vessel that goes to the upper limbs (brachii). It is important to note that the vessels that leave the heart are not symmetrical.
The trick is to be very patient with teasing away the tissue around the vessels and it does help to get cats that are high quality and injected with blue and pink latex. The cats I get usually come from Carolina Biological Supplies.
I have also created a google photo gallery that students can use as a reference or to practice studying for the lab practical on the circulatory system.