The abomasum is the fourth chamber in the ruminant. It functions similarly to the carnivore stomach as it is glandular and digests food chemically, rather than mechanically or by fermentation like the other 3 chambers of the ruminant stomach.
Active transport is reliant on carrier proteins and thus follows the same rules as facilitated diffusion in that they are specific have a maximum rate and are subject to competition. Crucially they transport substances against their concentration gradient and so require energy to work.
The adrenal glands are paired bodies lying cranial to the kidneys within the retroperitoneal space. The glands consist of two layers; the cortex and medulla.
Aldosterone is a steroid hormone which is secreted from the zona glomerulosa of the adrenal gland. It has a mineralocorticoid activity and is the most important regulator of plasma potassium. When plasma potassium increases, increased stimulation of aldosterone occurs directly and also as a result of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS). Aldosterone is also the most important regulator of sodium excretion.
The horse is a monogastric hindgut fermenter. The horse evolved for grazing and it does so for up to 17 hours a day. A high proportion of the horse's dietary carbohydrate is in the form of starch. A mature horse eats 2-2.5% of it's body weight in dry matter every day, 1.5-1.75% of this should be fibre (hay/haylage). This is to prevent a rapid drop in pH in the large intestine and also to stimulate peristalsis in the gut and prevent build up of gas.
Gives an overview of the anatomy and physiology of mammalian and avian animals' alimentary systems.
The anus is the terminal portion of the alimentary tract which communicates with the external environment. Two sphincters control it's aperture. It allows faeces and gas to leave the body. Defeacation is the process where faeces are expelled from the rectum through the anus.
After emerging from the heart, the aortic artery divides into the right and left dorsal branches. Each branch feeds into a set of arches which are unique to the embryo. Most higher vertebrates have have 6 pairs of aortic arches. In the mammal the 5th pair do not form. These arches evolve to form some of the structures of the mammalian circulation. The fate of each arch varies.
Although the information on this page is based around the anatomy of the canine hindlimb, it is essentially the anatomy of the arteries in domestic species. Any major differences will be discussed on their respective pages
The peripheral nervous system found in most domestic species can be segregated into three sub-systems; the sensory system, the somatic motor system and the autonomic system. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates the internal environment of the body including factors such as body temperature, blood pressure and concentrations of many substances. The ANS is also responsible for mobilising the body's resources during stressful situations. The ANS controls gland cells, cardiac muscle cells and smooth muscle cells. Control of this nervous system is involuntary and regulation is via autonomic reflexes. The autonomic reflex arc system is very similar to that of the somatic motor system, i.e. there are sensory (afferent) nerve fibres, an information integration centre, motor (efferent) fibres and effector cells. Any levels of increased activity within the autonomic nervous system can result in both stimulation or inhibition of effector cells, although it is only the efferent part of the reflex arc that is actually considered autonomic.
The intestines occupy the caudal part of the body. They contact the reproductive organs and the gizzard. The small intestine is long and relatively uniform in shape and size. There is no demarcation between the jejunum and the ileum.
Bile formation is an osmotic secretory process that is driven by the active concentration of bile salts in the bile canaliculi. Bile acids are produced from cholesterol and prior to being excreted from hepatocytes are bound to specific amino acids allowing them to exist as bile salts. One side of the bile salt molecule is negatively charged (hydrophilic) whilst the other is hydrophobic allowing bile salts to form micelles once a certain bile salt concentration has been reached.
Once sperm has entered the the oocyte, an ootid is formed. During early stages the ootid will contain male and female pronuclei along with the first and second polar bodies. Fusion of the male and female pronuclei will result in a single diploid nucleus or syngamy. Once syngamy has occurred, the zona pellucida then develops into an imprenetrable layer that prevents polyspermy and so polyploidy. Once the zona pellucida has developed, the ootid is now referred to as a zygote (diploid) and will begin undergoing mitotic divisions via a cleavage process that will begin to give rise to daughter cells called blastomeres. These cleavage divisions will begin to produce a 4-celled embryo and then an 8-celled embryo.
The Blood Brain Barrier refers to the mechanisms in place around the microvasculature of the brain to ensure optimal neural functioning. Endothelial cells are the structural basis of the blood brain barrier and are joined by tight cellular junctions formed by the transmembrane proteins the occludins and the claudins.
This page has links to many topics centered around blood pressure: blood pressure measurement, physiology, kidney control of blood pressure, renal blood pressure, and the renin angiotensin aldosterine system
Osteogenesis is the formation of bone. Bone forms from one of three lineages; the skull forms from the neural crest; the limb skeleton forms from the lateral plate mesoderm; and the axial skeleton forms from the paraxial mesoderm (sclerotome).
The trachea bifurcates at the levels of the 4th-6th intercostal space, approximately halfway between the thoracic inlet and the diaphragm. It divides into two principle bronchi, tubes which conduct air into the lungs, and they divide into two lobar bronchi for the left lung, and into four lobar bronchi for the right lung. These further divide into smaller bronchi and bronchioles within the lung tissue.
The Bursa of Fabricus is a primary lymphoid organ found in birds. The bursa was the first place that a certain subset of lymphocytes was observed and consequently they were named B lymphocytes (bursa of Fabricius or bursa equivalent organs). The bursa is involved in the differentiation of B lymphocytes.
Development of the Central Nervous System (CNS) includes development of the brain, spinal cord, optic and auditory systems, as well as surrounding supporting cells including ependymal cells, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia. Information within this page will exclude development of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) which includes nerve and ganglia formation.
Blood is supplied to the brain from a ventral arterial supply in all species; from a circle of arteries called the Circle of Willis (also called the cerebral arterial circle or arterial circle of Willis) which lies ventrally to the hypothalamus where it forms a loose ring around the infundibular stalk. Although the appearance of the circle of Willis is fairly constant amongst mammals, the sources of blood supply to the circle and the direction of flow around the circle are very species specific. Blood is supplied to the brain by the internal carotid artery in dogs and horses whilst in other domestic species the main blood supply is from branches of the maxillary artery.
The cecum is a blind ending diverticulum of the large intestine and it exists at the junction of the ileum and the ascending colon. Its size and physiological importance varies between species. It is a site of microbial fermentation, absorption and transportation.
Camelids have a similar digestive structure to other ruminants, although camelids only have three separate stomach compartments compared to the four found in domestic species. The first element of the camelid GI tract, known as C1, can be compared to the rumen whilst the second, known as C2 can be compared to the reticulum. The final element of the tract, C3 can be compared to the abomasum. Therefore camelids do not have a structure comparable to an omasum.
The mammalian cardiovascular and respiratory systems have evolved primarily to provide the tissues of the body with oxygen and to remove carbon dioxide. The cardiorespiratory system also has metabolic and heat exchange roles.
Each mammary complex consists of 5-20 mammary units and their corresponding ducts. The ducts open separately on the tip of the teat. Shallow grooves indicate the border between complexes. An intermammary sulcus divides the right from the left row.
The lower urinary tract is the collection of organs which convey the formed urine from the kidneys to the exterior of the body. The urine is not altered in this part of the system in species other than the horse (where mucous is added) but instead its function is to collect and store the urine until enough of it is collected for release to become necessary. This gives the animal urinary continence. Three major structures make up this tract. The ureters, the bladder and the urethra.
Also referred to as the reticuloendothelial system or mononuclear phagocytic system. It is comprised of primary lymphoid organs (bone marrow, Bursa of Fabricius, the foetal liver and the thymus) which are responsible for the production of lymphocytes, and the secondary lymphoid organs (lymph nodes, spleen and mucosal associated lymphoid tissue) which function to provide an environment where lymphocytes can react to antigen from the tissue fluid, blood and mucosal surfaces.
The musculoskeletal system includes bones, joints, cartilage, muscles, ligaments and tendons. In order to describe anatomical landmarks for example for the purposes of surgery and to be able to describe different directional information, for example when recording the view of a recently taken x-ray, it is necessary to have a way of describing the planes and axes that can be applied to the musculoskeletal system to pinpoint a specific anatomical area.
This page has links to information about pregnancy and parturation; including sperm in the female tract, fertilisation, sexual differentiation, genital development, gestation lengths in different species, maternal recognition of pregnancy, litter sizes, placenta and its endocrine function, fetal circulation, puerperium, and reproductive disorders.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is composed of the brain and the spinal cord. This page is specifically focussed on the histologic appearance, for anatomy see Forebrain, Midbrain, Hindbrain, Cranial Nerves, Spinal Cord and CNS Development.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounds the brain as well as the central canal of the spinal cord. It helps cushion the central nervous system (CNS), acting in a similar manner to a shock absorber. It also acts as a chemical buffer providing immunological protection and a transport system for waste products and nutrients. The CSF also provides buoyancy to the soft neural tissues which effectively allows the neural tissue to "float" in the CSF. This prevents the brain tissue from becoming deformed under its own weight. It acts as a diffusion medium for the transport of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine substances.
The cervix can be palpated transrectally and forms a sphincter controlling access to the uterus.The anatomy of the cervical canal is adapted to suit a particular pattern of reproduction and its composition will alter under the influence of reproductive hormones. Not only does it respond to the fluctuation in oestrodiol during the oestrous cycle, but is responsive to prostaglandins and oxytocin in order to 'soften' for parturition.
The colon is a site of microbial fermentation, the relative importance of this is species dependent. The colon can be divided into the following portions; Ascending, transverse and descending.
Different hormones, neurotransmitters and reflexes are involved in the complicated process of feeding in animals. Secretions and motility of the gastrointestinal tract are stimulated and carefully regulated by numerous factors, including environmental stimuli and the presence of food in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract from the oral cavity right through to the intestines. When a harmful substance is ingested the body acts to eliminate it in different ways to prevent the animal becoming ill, for example, through vomiting and diarrhoea. If one or more of the pathways in controlling feeding is damaged or inhibited, then problems such as obesity occurs.
Corpus Luteum is latin for "yellow body". The corpus luteum is the structure formed during luteinisation of the follicle after ovulation. The corpus luteum is, however, actually only yellow in the cow and in all other domestic species it is red. The yellow colouration of the corpus luteum is due to the pigment, lutein.
Luteinisation occurs after ovulation and the collapse of the follicle. The number of corpora lutea formed in the ovary at any one time is directly proportional to the number of oocytes ovulated. Therefore many corpora lutea will be visible on the ovary of polytocous animals. During Luteinisation there is an increase in both the size and weight due to hyperplasia (increase in cell number) and hypertrophy (increase in cell size) within the developing corpus luteum.
Cranial nerves are those nerves which arise from the brain and brain stem rather than the spinal cord. Nerves arising from the spinal cord are the peripheral nerves. There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves and these pairs of nerves passage through foramina in the skull, either individually or in groups. Cranial nerves are traditionally referred to by Roman numerals and these numerals begin cranially and run caudally.
Deglutition is the process of swallowing. Food is passed from the oral pharynx into the oesophageal/laryngeal pharynx whilst the epiglottis closes across the entrance of the trachea. It is an involuntary reflex preventing food from passing into the trachea and thus preventing choking and respiratory pneumonia.
Embryo, when applied to mammals, is the term given to the developing organism from fertilisation to birth. Developmental biology, or embryology, is the study of the embryo as it transforms from a unicellular zygote to a multicellular, mulitsystemed organism which in some cases is ready to function autonomously at birth. Developmental biology is of interest to vets in understanding why organs and systems are the way they are, but also in understanding genetic diseases and applying cell based therapies to treat loss or damage to tissues.
The Diaphragm is a dome-shaped musculotendinous sheet separating the thoracic and abdominal cavities. It is convex on its cranial surface. In the neutral position between full inspiration and full expiration, the most cranial part of the diaphragm is in line with the 6th rib.
Gases or liquids can be unevenly distributed between two areas. If one area has a higher concentration than the other then the differance between these two areas is termed the concentration gradient. The equality is then corrected by the movement of the molecules down this so called gradient from the region of high concentration to that of low. This process is passive as the molecules do not have to be forced to do this and it is reffered to as diffusion.
The duodenum is the proximal part of the small intestine and extends from the pylorus of the stomach to the jejunum. It has descending and ascending portions and both portions have digestive and absorptive functions.
Elephant anatomy is very much comparable to the horse and rabbit. Microbes are present in the hindgut that produce Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs). VFAs make a substantial contribution to the elephant's total energy requirements. Food has a relatively fast transit time and as a result, elephants have a low digestive efficiency (44% as opposed to 60% in horses). A fast transit time is achieved by a short GIT, reduced caecum and increased GIT diameter. Their digestive strategy is to pass as large a quantity of low quality food through their digestive tract within a short period of time.
There are various hormones that influence the structure of the skin. These influences may be made apparent by the repeated long-term administration of various glucocorticoids or their analogues. Endogenous imbalances are generally seen in adult mature animals although congenital forms have been seen, especially with hypothyroidism. The hormones implicated as important for maintaining skin structure are thyroxine, cortisol and estradiol. Deficiencies or excessive production may result from abberations in the function of the hypothalamic-adrenal axis, the adrenal gland, thyroid gland or the gonads.
Comprised of a group of duct-less glands with limited or no anatomical contact with each other, the endocrine system integrates and controls metabolic activity through the secretion of hormones into the vascular system. These hormones may have their effects on tissues and organs far from where they were produced.
Prior to birth the foetus is not capable of respiratory function and thus relies on the maternal circulation to carry out gas, nutrient and waste exchange. The foetal and maternal blood never mix, instead they interface at the placenta. Consequently the liver and the lungs are non-functional, and a series of shunts exist in the foetal circulation so that these organs are almost completely by-passed.
The forebrain (proencephalon) is the largest part of the brain, most of which is cerebrum. Other important structures found in the forebrain include the thalamus , the hypothalamus and the limbic system. The cerebrum is divided into two cerebral hemispheres connected by a mass of white matter known as the corpus callosum.
The gall bladder stores bile produced in the liver. Bile is important in the digestion of lipids. The gall bladder forms as an outgrowth of the bile duct, as a secondary hollow at the posterior edge of the original hepatic rudiment. The cystic duct joins the common bile duct which enters the duodenum at the major duodenal papillae (with the pancreatic duct) on the dorsal surface of the duodenum.
The air in the alveoli is renewed regularly, thanks to the ventilation process. Gas exchange in the lungs takes place between the blood in the capillary network surrounding the alveoli, and the air in the alveoli itself.
Gastrulation is the process of forming the three germ layers; ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. It is achieved through a series of highly coordinated cell movements. Cells that will form the endodermal and mesodermal organs are brought inside the embryo, whilst cells that will form ectoderm move to spread out over the outside of the embryo.
The glomerular filtration rate or GFR is the amount of fluid filtered from the capillaries into the Bowmans capsule of the kidneys per unit time.
The endoderm will form the lining of the gut and the organs that develop from it. Splanchnic mesoderm surrounds the endoderm and orginates from the lateral plate mesoderm. It will form the smooth muscle of the gut that are used in peristalsis.
The Guttural Pouch is present only in members of the order Perissodactyla (nonruminant ungulates: horses, tapirs, rhinoceros) and another small band of small mammals including Hyraxes, certain bats and a South American mouse.
Hair germs begin from an aggregation of keratinocytes in the stratum basale of the epidermis. The initiating factor is the underlying dermal fibroblast cells. The keratinocytes elongate, divide and relocate to the dermis. Dermal fibroblasts then form a dermal papilla beneath the hair germ. This causes stimulation of the basal stem cells to up-regulate their cycle, producing cells that will keratinise and form the hair shaft. Two swellings form on the shaft, one containing stem cells for follicle regeneration, the other becomes a sebaceous gland which will secrete sebum onto the hair shaft. The follicles develop from an ectodermal bud which invades the mesenchyme during embryonic development. The mesoderm also condenses during the development creating an outer mesodermal component to the embedded part of the hair.
The formation of the mammalian heart is a fairly complex process. It begins when angiogenic mesodermal cells in the cardiogenic plate coalesce to form the endocardial tubes. The endocardial tubes then fuse to form a single duct, the cardiac tube. This undergoes a process of distension, folding and septation and a four chambered, dual circuit pump is formed . The simple heart seen in fish or amphibians forms via the same path but development ceases at an earlier stage.
The heart is located in the thoracic cavity in between the lungs, 60% of it lying to the left of the median plane. The hearts lateral projection extends from rib 3 to 6. Most of the hearts surface is covered by the lungs and in juveniles it is bordered cranially by the thymus. Caudally the heart extends as far as the diaphragm. Variations in position and size exist among individuals depending on species, breed, age, fitness and pathology. Roughly speaking, the heart is responsible for about 0.75% of the bodyweight.
Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) can also be referred to as vitamin A-storing cells, lipocytes, interstitial cells, fat-storing cells and Ito cells. HSC exist in the space between parenchymal cells and sinusoidal endothelial cells of the hepatic lobule and store 80% of retinoids in the whole body as retinyl palmitate in lipid droplets in the cytoplasm. In physiological conditions, these cells play pivotal roles in the regulation of retinoid homeostasis; they express specific receptors for retinol-binding protein (RBP), a binding protein specific for retinol, on their cell surface, and take up the complex of retinol and RBP by receptor-mediated endocytosis.