The heart is probably the most central structure in the body. Arguably, the brain could be said to be “more important” (death is classified technically as absence of brain activity rather than a motionless heart), but for most of us, a beating heart is synonymous with the presence of life. We all have a heart – whether we are dogs, cats, humans, or indeed frogs – and one of the fascinating things about veterinary science is the fact that the fundamental structure of many organs – including the heart – is surprisingly similar.
There must be something intriguing about the structure of the heart: the Wikivet page on this subject has been the most visited page of all over the past year.
The main page is a simple description of the various structures – the position of the heart in the chest, the ventricles, the atria and the other connected tissues. If you can read technical language for just five minutes, you can be briefed with a simple but accurate review of the gross anatomy of the heart.
The Wikivet heart page also has links to some interesting visual media. Some of these are not publicly accessible: perhaps it’s only necessary for vet students to see what heart muscle looks like under the microscope. But other links include a colour coded video that clearly shows the different structures, and the most remarkable three-dimensional video that shows how the heart sits in the middle of the chest.
If you have always wondered about what MRI’s look like, you can watch a video that shows you MRI sections of the chest, and if you have witnessed the plastinated human exhibitions, you can view a plastinated dog heart.
Heart disease is common in pets: if your dog or cat is ever affected, it will help if you can easily visualise what’s going on inside a pet’s chest. This Wikivet page is a great place to learn all about it.