Dissecting a rabbit involves dividing it and identifying the internal organs or structures for study or examination purposes. To dissect a rabbit successfully, you need to adopt and follow a proper method. Perhaps before you begin, you may examine the animal's internal and external structures using a rabbit anatomy diagram.
Lay your specimen rabbit on the dissecting tray with its back side facing the surface of the tray.
Stretch the legs of the rabbit one at a time and pin them to the tray (which has a spongy fabric that cushions the rabbit, allowing you to pin its legs) using T-pins. Splay the legs outwards to keep them out of the way while cutting through the abdominal and chest cavity.
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Refer to your diagram to familiarize yourself with the rabbit’s respiratory system (breathing system). Study the structures in the throat. Position the tip of the scalpel against the underside of the rabbit’s jaw about two inches away from the throat. Slit almost halfway through the middle section of the throat using a scalpel blade. Separate carefully the neck muscles with a teaser needle and find the trachea (an airway or windpipe in the neck). Expose several centimeters of the trachea with a teasing needle.
Position your scissors at the incision on the throat and cut gently through the skin extending vertically into the thoracic cavity (chest). Pull back the cut edges of the rib cages and observe the structures in the chest. Continue cutting through the abdomen to the anus.
Lift the skin using forceps. Pull down the flaps using tweezers. Cut away any connective tissues to make the process easier. Pin down the skin to the fabric of the tray with T-pins. This allows you to view the inner cavities free from obstruction.
Open the chest and the abdominal flaps gently using forceps and teasing needles. Identify the organs you can see and compare them to the anatomy diagram. Note the liver and stomach below the chest, the intestines below it, and the heart to the left of the chest cavity.
Remove the intestines and the liver using the tweezers and scissors. Set them to the tray. Pull the heart upwards and slice through the arteries using your scalpel blade. Set it to lie on the tray next to the liver and intestines. Cut away the lungs and lay it besides the heart.
Cut away the connective tissue on top of the kidney and then remove it. Cut open the thighs to expose the leg muscles. Continue cutting away the rest of the necessary organs until the body is left a hollow or empty cavity.
Wear your goggles to protect your eyes from likelihood of chemical or the rabbit’s body fluids' spilling into your eyes. Wear a face mask to avoid breathing in noxious odors such as fumes from formaldehyde (chemical preservative used to preserve dead animals). Protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves to prevent formaldehyde from entering your blood stream.