The image on the left gives you an overview of the female reproductive system. The most obvious component of the system is the paired uterine horns that unite in the midline to form the uterus (1). The kittens develop in the uterine horns and the system undergoes dramatic changes during pregnancy.
Note that the uterine horns are supported by two membranes. The broad ligament (1) attaches the uterine horns and uterus to the dorsal body wall. The portion of the broad ligament lying along the uterine horns is also called the mesometrium. Additional support is provided by the round ligament (2). This structure is approximately perpendicular to the broad ligament.
Click here to see the changes that occur in these structures during pregnancy.
Click here to see additional membranes associated with the anterior region of the female reproductive system.
The mesovarian (3) is a mesentery that attaches the ovary to the body wall and is continuous with the broad ligament.
The ovarian ligament (4) attaches the ovary to the uterine horn.
The arrows point to the internal genital artery and the internal genital vein. These vessels supply blood to the reproductive structures. They become greatly enlarged during pregnancy.
The egg leaves the ovary (1) and passes into the ostium (2), the funnel shaped opening of the oviduct (3). The ostium appears as a dot next to #2. Fertilization occurs in the oviduct.
If the egg is fertilized it implants in the uterine horns (4).
Click to see the changes that occur in these structures during pregnancy.
If the egg is not fertilized it will pass through the system the same way a kitten would.
Click here to see the pathway the kitten (egg) takes.
From the uterine horns the egg enters the uterus (6), passes through the cervix (this can only be seen if the uterus is sectioned at the point it leaves the abdominal cavity), through the vagina (7) and into urogenital sinus (8). Both the vagina and ureter empty into the urogenital sinus and the contents leave the body through the urogenital orifice (red arrow).
Also note the position of the ureter (1) and the rectum (1) in relation to the vagina (7).
Click to follow the same pathway in a pregnant female.
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