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Cat Dissection

I was a complete and nervous wreck this morning, as I knew that we would be doing our cat dissections in my Anatomy and Physiology class. My stomach was in knots b/c I was nervous that if I couldn't do this, that maybe nursing wasn't for me. However, now that it is over I must say that it was pretty awesome! I did better than I thought I would do!

So, our cats came double bagged. They looked so funny! The air was sucked out of the bag like those new freezer bags. It was one cat per table. There were four people in my group. We cut the first bag open and set it aside. We then had to carry our cat to one of the sinks, cut the second bag, and drain the fluid (ewwww). After we drained our cat we put her on a tray and carried her back to the table. Our professor handed out tags, so that when we were done with today's lab and put our cats away we would be able to tell them apart for the next time. We decided to name our cat. I wanted to name her Lo-Mein, but someone else suggested Sushi. I loved it, so did the other girls, so Sushi it was. Once we got our instruments and gloves, we read over the directions and then began. Our cat died with her arms above her head and her legs straight down, which is not the anatomically correct position for dissection. My classmate who had previously dissected a pig said that they had to tie their pigs' limbs down with twine to get it into the correct position, so we asked our professor for string. I tried tying the string to the cats limbs, but they wouldn't stay down. When I told my professor she said, "oh yeah, you have to break the legs." No one in my group said that they would do it, so I stepped up to the plate - I guess this was the worst part for me. I shudder just thinking of the sound. CRACK!

The classmate with previous dissection experience made the first incision. She did really well until it was time to peal back the skin, so I took over from there. She and I took turns, but when it came to the upper respiratory system I did most of the work b/c she was afraid of cutting too deep. Our other classmates helped out too, they did things like pinning the skin back. Once we had Sushi open and we were able to see her organs the fun began! We cut through the base of her tongue and we were actually able to see her larynx, epiglottis, trachea, vocal cords, etc. It was so awesome being able to see these things in real life and not out of a text book. The lungs were amazing miniature versions of ours. After a few minutes of working with Sushi I was completely desensitized. I wonder if med students go through this with human corpse? I am assuming that they must in order to get through the dissections. When we were done we had to remove the pins, drain Sushi (more fluid came out), re-bag her, tag her, and put her away. We then cleaned all of our equipment, table, and our hands! I washed my hands several times and used hand sanitizer as well. I actually washed my arms b/c when we were re-bagging Sushi, my friend dropped her into the bag I was holding and fluid sprayed me! I ended up I dropping the bag and poor Sushi hit the ground!

The entire experience was a positive one, well except for a few minor things like, the smell, the cat juice (, the breaking of the limbs, and the chemicals used for preserving the cat. Many of us were tearing up like we were cutting onions. These chemical are so harsh that I could feel the cilia in my throat dying. I wore a surgical mask to protect myself. Oh, another thing was that our poor Sushi was ugly. She was a skinny, scrawny, black cat. Our classmates had beautifully plumb and colorful cats. Typical that I would get stuck with the reject! LOL!

Anyway, that was my first cat dissection and I enjoyed it. Can't wait till Thursday. I am missing Sushi already!


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