Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library

PubMed MEDLINE Searching: Veterinary Medicine

PubMed MEDLINE is an excellent free source of journal article citations and abstracts for veterinarians and others seeking information on veterinary medicine and animal health topics.

This page provides guidelines for searching in PubMed, which are also available in the printable brochure, PubMed MEDLINE Searching: Veterinary Medicine.

Assistance and Training
In addition to the information found on this page, there are several other valuable resources for learning to search in and use PubMed. You can:

PubMed Provides . . .

  • Free access on the Internet at http://pubmed.gov.
  • About 105 veterinary journals are indexed out of nearly 5,400 total biomedica journals in human medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, healthcare system, genomics, and preclinical life sciences.
  • Over 18 million citations from the international biomedical and life sciences journal literature back to 1948.
  • Updated daily.
  • 80% of the citations have author-written abstracts.
  • 80% of articles are in English language.
  • “Potential” link-outs to free and pay-per-view full-text journal articles in over 7,000 journals, and some molecular biology and other books.
  • Access to document delivery services from medical libraries through LoansomeDoc.
  • Set up, store, and run table of contents-like searches for current awareness purposes using MyNCBI.

Veterinary Journal Coverage
Go to Journals in NCBI Databases to see a list of the approximately 180 important veterinary journals that are indexed for PubMed. Additional animal-related articles can also be found in non-veterinary journals.

Note: Some clinical and international veterinary journals are NOT indexed, such as, Advances in Veterinary Dermatology, Equine Veterinary Education, Veterinary Economics, and Veterinary Medicine. To check which journals are indexed, click on Journals Database on the PubMed home page.


Guidelines for Searching

Subjects -- Free Text Keywords

Single AND Relationship between subject keywords or phrases
Enter keywords/search terms in any order; PubMed will automatically supply the AND connectors; 2-3 separate search elements are usually sufficient, e.g., [disease], [species], [other aspect, such as diagnosis, treatment, etc].

fleas dogs insecticides [PubMed searches as: fleas AND dogs AND insecticides]
tibia osteotomy dogs  
monkeypox prairie dogs  
west nile virus diagnosis horses  
leptospir* diagnosis dogs [Truncation for word variations]
linkage retina dogs cornell [Author’s institutional affiliation]
coronavirus animal [Include all animal species]
parvovirus review [Add “review” or use Limits menu]
johne’s disease cattle [PubMed also searches synonyms like paratuberculosis; click Details
“von willebrand” cryoprecipitate dogs [Use double quotes for adjacency or exact phrase word order]
foot and mouth disease occurrence [Automatic mapping will search as a phrase and MeSH heading]

Multiple AND/OR Relationships between subject keywords or phrases using Boolean Connectors
Enter AND, OR, NOT in UPPER CASE; use parenthesis to group similar topics or synonyms together.

dirofilariasis OR dirofilaria OR heartworm [Use synonyms to broaden a topic]
(pseudorabies OR aujeszky*) AND swine [See “standardized” species terms]
Subjects -- Standardized Subject Headings
Use the Mesh Database accessed from the PubMed home page to:

  • Locate the appropriate standardized Medical Subject Headings,
  • See brief descriptions or definitions of those headings,
  • Show the hierarchy or relationship between headings, and
  • Build an effective MEDLINE search strategy using this controlled vocabulary.

MeSH headings are used to provide standardized subject indexing for articles in MEDLINE. They can increase the consistency of search results by minimizing synonym and other variations in keywords or text terms in common usage. View the MeSH headings applied to each article from the Citation format. For veterinary topics, use the same approach as text word searching. Follow prompts and click appropriate buttons.

Enter last name first and/or second initials, no punctuation.

thrall ma  
kollias gv [Don’t use Jr. or III designations]
center sa [au] [Use tag for common names]
morgan* [au] [Use truncation & tag if initials are not known]
burton-wurster n [Enter names with hyphen]
hackett rp ainsworth dm [For papers written by both authors together; AND is assumed]
ducharme ng OR nixon aj [Enter OR for articles by either or both authors]

Journal Titles
Enter full title or MEDLINE abbreviation, or use the Journals Database accessed from the PubMed home page.

journal of the american veterinary medical association am j vet res
thrombocytopenia “blood” [ta] dogs 2004 (Put single word journal titles in double quotes with tag.)  
“gene therapy” [ta] (Use double quotes & tag for journal titles confused with subjects.)  

Combination (subject/author/journal)
Enter in any sequence; AND connector is assumed, AND/OR connectors must be entered.

todhunter rj osteoarthritis dogs 2003
estrus horses equine vet j
sarcoid horses vet clin north am equine practice review
farnum ce chondrocyte*
atopic dermatitis dogs vet dermatol olivry t [au]

Limiting to….
Animal Species and Groups
There are several ways to limit your search to animal species or groups, listed here.

  • The most effective and direct way is to enter one or more species terms from the list below along with subject keywords.
  • diabetes dogs
    diabetes AND (dogs OR cats)
  • Enter “veterinary [sb]” directly in the PubMed search box followed by keywords and species if needed.
  • Veterinary [sb]cardiomyopathy cats
  • Or from PubMed Tools on the PubMed home page, click Topic-Specific Queries, then Veterinary Medicine/Animal Health, then Veterinary Search and add additional search keywords.
  • When using Mesh subject headings, consider attaching the /veterinary subheading subject terms, such as:
  • toxoplasmosis/veterinary
    lymphosarcoma/veterinary horses
  • Limit to “Animals” from the Limits tab. You can also add “animals” but that can pick up research papers plus some human articles.
    acepromazine animals [in all species]
    anesthetics animals [in all species]

Standardized Indexing Terms for Species and Animal Groups
Each index term listed below includes the accompanying topics:

amphibia All types of amphibians, including frogs and salamanders
animal Any non-human animal.
birds All types of birds, including poultry, raptors, psittacines.
carnivora Bears, cats, ferrets, foxes, otters, lions, raccoons, wolves, etc.
cattle Cow, cows, bovine, calf, calves, heifer.
cats Cat, cats, feline, kitten, kittens, queen.
cetacea Dolphins, porpoises, whales, etc.
dogs Dog, dogs, canine, puppy, puppies, bitch.
goats Goat, goats, caprine, kid, kids, etc.
guinea pigs Guinea pig, guinea pigs, cavia, cavies.
fishes All types of fish, including salmon, trout.
hamsters Hamster, hamsters, cricetus, etc.
horses Horse, horses, equine, stallion, mare,mares, foal, foals, filly, gelding.
human Homo sapiens, man (male or female), humans.
insectivora Hedgehogs, moles, shrews.
mice Mice, mouse, all genetic types of mice (nude, inbred strains)
poultry Incl. chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys.
primates Human and non-human primates since 2004. For non-human primates, enter each type (lemur, colobus, gorilla, etc.)
psittacines Parakeets, cockatiels, parrots, etc.
rabbits Rabbit, rabbits, bunnies.
rodentia All types of rodents, incl. rats, mice, squirrels, woodchucks.
ratites Emus, ostriches, rheas.
rats Rat, rats, all genetic types of rats incl. inbred strains
reptiles All types including alligators, lizards, snakes.
ruminants All types including buffalo, camels, cattle, deer, sheep.
sheep Sheep, ovine, ewe, etc.
swine Pig, pigs, swine, porcine, piglet, piglets, boar, boars, sow, sows, etc.
Animals, domestic Domesticated species, incl. pets, dogs, cats, horses, livestock
Animals, laboratory Typical lab animals, incl. rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. as a group.
Animals, wild Feral, wild or non-domesticated animals
Animals, zoo Animals in zoos