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VM-4 Resources

This guide contains links to resources useful to fourth-year students in veterinary medicine.

The Basics

CAB Abstracts and PubMed will be the most useful databases.

Before you begin your search:

  1. Think before you search.
  2. Break your topic into concepts.
  3. Think about your keywords, synonyms, alternate spellings, and write down possible search terms.

Searching CAB Abastracts and PubMed

CAB Abstracts is the most comprehensive database for veterinary medicine, animal science, and agriculture.CAB Abstracts indexes many U.S. and international publications, conference proceedings, and book chapters. The coverage is from 1910 to the present. Watch the short videos for an introduction to searching CAB Abstracts.

Quick Tips

  1. Can use Boolean operators: and, or, not. For example, (cats or dogs) and diabetes (Note: The Boolean operators do not need to be capitalized.)
  2. Use quotation marks if you're searching for an exact phrase, "animal behaviour".
  3. Sometimes it can be helpful to truncate a search term. Use the asterisk. For example, cataract* will retrieve records with the following words:
    • cataracts
    • cataractogenesis
    • cataractous
  4. Because CAB Abstracts is produced in the UK, include British and American spellings (e.g. leukaemia, odour, oestrogens, haematology).
  5. After you've done a search, you might choose to "refine" or "limit" your search (e.g. English-only articles). The "refinements" are on the left-hand side of the results screen.
  6. Pay attention to the descriptors that are found in the citation record. Use the descriptors as search terms.

PubMed indexes the health sciences/life sciences literature. It also indexes approximately 101 veterinary medicine journals. The coverage is from the 1950s to the present. Watch the short video for an introduction to searching PubMed.

Remember, PubMed does NOT index EVERY journal important to veterinary medicine. For example, Applied Animal Behavior Science, Bovine Practitioner, The Pig Journal, & the Journal of Swine Health & Production are NOT indexed by PubMed.

Quick Tips

  1. Link to PubMed via the library website for "Get it@ISU" linkage.
  2. Capitalize Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
  3. Use "Limits" if appropriate (e.g. time frame, language, etc.).
  4. Remember to identify synonyms for the concepts in your search statement. You may use abbreviations and complete disease names as search terms. For example, (RSV OR respiratory syncytial virus) AND (sheep OR lambs).


Google Scholar can be a powerful (and familiar) tool to use for exploring the literature. It searches a very broad field of subject matter, but the results are also much more likely to include literature that is not peer-reviewed.

Demo: Using Boolean Operators