Finding Resources

One of the biggest challenges in the digital age is sorting out answers you can find online. Over time, each of us develops our “go to” resources for things at two levels:

  • basic information for new or unfamiliar topics
  • advanced, detailed or updated information for more familiar topics

These are rarely the same.

For starter explanations, try these:

  • Wikipedia useful for physiology, unknown terms and other more general knowledge questions
  • Vetfolio – has been free for students; great summaries of topics and conditions
  • Merck Veterinary Manual online- good for pathogenesis and presentation; not as good for therapies
  • Vet Clinics of North America  Equine, Food Animal, and Exotics– see the search function at the top. Does require a subscription. Available through many University libraries. Peer-reviewed summaries of  SA topics; NOT always peer-reviewed for LA topics but extensive reference lists.
  • VIN – abstracts are posted in related feeds. Free for students and contains a variety of other resources (3D anatomy, drug calculators, financial aid info). The help from the boards is variable; sometimes excellent, sometimes dangerous.
  • Specialty sites with info for animal owners (many are free for students):,,,,,, sites with .gov or .edu
    • ACVS is probably the weakest of the bunch.
  • Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook and app (lots of versions out there in different formats and prices)
  • SCOVE Edu+ – online source of online resources

For more detailed explanations or comparison of therapies, diagnostic tools etc:

  • Gwern’s internet search tips– focused on finding scholarly and expert sources
  • Google scholar– look for the ones with a pdf. You can sort by year, type of article etc using the left hand bar
  • Veterinary medical library Pub Med and other databases; video how to for UMN system; or go visit the librarian in person
  • UMN library search– For articles and books. Great for specific articles you are trying to access or specific topics, particularly if not likely to be in pubmed.
  • Ivis – international veterinary information service – is a great place to find specific meeting proceedings
  • Extreme googling
  • Surgery textbooks- great for how to perform surgery and the perioperative care required
  • Revisit sites above

Unless it is fiction or for fun, don’t read every word.

  • Textbooks – read the chapter summary and/or skim the headings; then read the applicable sections.
  • Journal articles – start with the abstract and/or introduction, follow with the last paragraph, finish with any middle bits that are useful
  • Online materials – start with Ctrl-F if you have a specific question; otherwise go with the section headings and introductory sections as above.

Why we care:


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Large Animal Surgery - Supplemental Notes Copyright © by Erin Malone, DVM, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.