VCD – Organs of the Abdomen

Locate the liver and use it as a reference point to find other structures.  There is a layer of fat that covers all the organs, this layer is called the greater omentum.


Find the pouch like stomach that lies just under the liver and posterior to the diaphragm.  At the top of the stomach is the entry point of the esophagus where within is a valve between the two structures, the cardiac sphincter valve.   On the opposite end of the stomach is the pyloric sphincter valve where the stomach connects to the duodenum of the small intestine.


The next sections of the small intestine are the jejunum, then the ileum which connects to the large intestine.  The intestines are held together by the mesentery which contains the blood vessels which will absorb nutrients from the digestive process.


At the junction between the large and small intestine is a pouch called the cecum. Another valve regulates the passage of food here: the ileocecal valve (named after the two structures it connects).


As you trace the alimentary canal, you’ll find that it follows this path:  mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, anus.  There are other associated structures that aid in digestion, such as the liver and the pancreas.   The spleen is also found in this area, though it is not primarily and organ of digestion and is related to the circulatory and immune systems.


You probably already noted the kidneys when you found the renal arteries and veins.  Recall that the kidneys sit far to the back of the abdominal cavity, and are two bean shaped organs.  Now locate the tiny ureters that attach to the kidneys.  These tubes deliver urine to the bladder.


In the lower part of the abdomen the bladder is a stretchy pouch that sits next to the large intestine (colon).  The last section of the large intestine, where solid waste is stored before elimination is called the rectum.


More images are visible at the Cat Dissection Gallery

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