Veterinary Journals (Which Is Right for You?)

By Direct Knowledge

As a professional or even as a student working towards a career, journals can provide a wealth of helpful information. They contain material that is of a higher level, so you rarely need to worry about skimming through things you already know. In fact, most of them showcase the most recent and groundbreaking developments in the field. Through reading journals, you’ll be able to stay entirely up-to-date, therefore making your practice or study of the highest level possible. The following are collections of journals that veterinarians may be interested in (about 140 total!). Most of them are peer-reviewed and some are even open access, thus making continued learning reliable and accessible.

General Veterinary Journals

For general practice veterinarians or students who haven’t quite decided which area to focus on, these broader-topic journals might be ideal. They often cover large swaths of research that is applicable to various—if not all—fields. Hence, the main broad topics that you can find within these journals are medicine and research. However, they won’t spend too much time focusing on the specifics of one particular area.

For example, the medicine or research concerning certain species, particular diseases, or small geographic regions will not be the central theme. But these topics will surely come up, giving you the opportunity to get familiar with a broad range of subjects. This can help keep a professional vet’s mind sharp and ready for anything. It can also help students test the waters in every area to figure out which they like best. So, if you’re not sure where to begin, these veterinary journals are great starting points.

  • American Journal of Veterinary Research
  • Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia
  • Animal
  • Journal of Animal Science
  • Journal of Applied Animal Research
  • Animal Research
  • Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association
  • Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
  • Animal Science Journal
  • Australian Veterinary Journal
  • Global Veterinaria
  • Historia Medicinae Veterinariae
  • Human and Veterinary Medicine
  • Veterinary Journal
  • Veterinary Research
  • Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Research in Veterinary Science
  • Veterinary Research Communications
  • BMC Veterinary Research

Journals on Animal Welfare

There is a long list of reasons that people have close relationships with animals. Some people find them to be great company in the form of pets, others find utility in them through production of meat or physical labor, and even more people have benefited (indirectly) from their use as test subjects in laboratories. The treatment of animals in all of these situations varies greatly depending on various factors, but there is a movement to make that treatment more consistent and more positive.

Consequently, a number of veterinary journals focus on the welfare of animals, whatever their situation may be. They try to balance humans needs such as product testing and food production with the humane treatment of the animals who are providing such services. It can be a tricky subject, but that’s why there is such an emphasis on it in modern literature. The following journals can give you further insight into the history and modern changes in the area.

  • Alternatives to laboratory animals
  • Animal Welfare
  • Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
  • Experimental Animals
  • Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation
  • Topics in Companion Animal Medicine
  • ILAR Journal
  • Laboratory Animals
  • Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science

Interdisciplinary Fields

Veterinarians or those interested in veterinary subjects might not only be interested in medical care and research on animals. There are a number of other fields that animal sciences and veterinary practices can relate to. For example, you may be at a point where you wish to pass on your veterinary knowledge. Others joining the field, or even to other professionals, need someone to educate them, but first you need to learn how to educate.

There is also an ever-increasing amount of legal matter coming into play with animals, their rights, and humane treatment. Technology also makes an appearance in various fields. For example, the technology may include orthopedics and prosthesis, internal devices, medical equipment, and more. Furthermore, all of these things come into play as humans and animals interact over time, leading to studies of those interactions. The more contact we have with one another, the greater risk of the spreading of disease or other negative consequences. But, on the flip side, there are also positive consequences that improve our lives. Learn about them in the journals below:

  • Animal Law
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Journal of Veterinary Medical Education
  • Society and Animals
  • Veterinary Economics
  • Veterinary Heritage
  • Zoonoses and Public Health
  • Anthrozoos

Journals on Species and Groups of Animals

When we think about human medicine, we usually think of doctors who study for years and years on highly complex subjects. They usually specialize in one set of human organs or behaviors, but it still takes years. In contrast, veterinarians typically don’t have quite as narrow of a focus. Many of them can treat a wide range of animals and their many systems and ailments.

But many will focus on certain groups or species of animals. These groups may be based on their environment, such as aquatic animals. Or they may be grouped by their interest to humans, such as exotic pets. Likewise, many vets focus on animals that we use as livestock to produce goods and services. Within each of these groups vets may then branch off based on size or species of the patients. After all, a chicken and a cow will tell you that not all livestock are created equal. The following list gives you an idea of the specialties by species and group:

  • Equine Veterinary Education
  • Equine Veterinary Journal
  • Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
  • Journal of Dairy Research
  • Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
  • Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
  • Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine
  • Avian Diseases
  • Journal of Dairy Science
  • Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
  • Avian Pathology
  • Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
  • Journal of Fish Diseases
  • Fish and Shellfish Immunology
  • Fish Pathology
  • Journal of Small Animal Practice
  • Journal of Swine Health and Production
  • Livestock Science
  • Poultry Science
  • Small Ruminant Research
  • Equine Practice and Exotic Animal Practice from Veterinary Clinics of North America
  • Tropical Animal Health and Production

Specialty Veterinary Journals

Many vets do not follow a broad-range approach. Rather, similar to many doctors who work with human patients, they may choose to study very specific specialties. These specialties focus on certain species, body systems and functions, and diseases or ailments that animals may suffer from. Many are services that doctors also routinely provide to human patients, just with a twist to fit the new critters. These include dentistry, vaccinations, radiology and ultrasound, anesthesia, dermatology, therapeutics, as well as surgery.

The general ideas have a bit of overlap with their human counterparts, but performing these services is different for each animal. If the vet works on multiple animals, they must be familiar with all the ways they differ from one another. But if they do not look at many animals, they may focus all their energy on diving deep into the unique systems and qualities of their specialty. You can get a sense of the breadth of the veterinary field by taking a look at the specialties in the journals below. Or, if you already have your specialty, you can find others who share your passion and knowledge through these journals.

  • Animal Genetics
  • Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
  • Veterinary and Comparative Oncology
  • Applied Animal Behaviour Science
  • Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology
  • Veterinary Clinical Pathology
  • Cardiology
  • Veterinary Clinics of North America: Journals of Food and Small Animal Practice
  • Comparative Immunology, Microbiology, and Infectious Diseases
  • Veterinary Dermatology
  • Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Microbiology
  • Veterinary Ophthalmology
  • Domestic Animal Endocrinology
  • Veterinary Parasitology
  • Veterinary Pathology
  • Endocrinology
  • Veterinary Quarterly
  • Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
  • Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
  • Veterinary Record
  • Veterinary Surgery
  • Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
  • Journals of Veterinary Cardiology; Dentistry; Diagnostic Investigation; Internal Medicine; and Parasitology
  • Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
  • Vaccine
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Veterinary Therapeutics

Medicine Journals

Unlike some other veterinary areas, that of medicine deals with preventing, diagnosing, and treatment of ailments. Diseases, disorders, as well as injuries are the focus of this area. The professionals in the field of medicine go by titles of veterinary physician, vet/veterinarian, and veterinary nurses or technicians. Specialties such as dentistry or physiotherapy, however, are left to the specialists in those areas. Those specialists often work with and assist vets in the medicine arena.

The field also covers all animals, including domestic and even wild animals. The diseases treated by veterinary medicine can often affect various species which may even include humans. Think swine flue or mad cow disease. As a result, these are important matters that can affect large parts of the population if vets don’t provide proper treatment. Hence veterinary medicine is quite important in food safety and the general health of human populations. Read here to get the details:

  • Comparative Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care
  • Journals of Medical Entomology and of Medical Primatology
  • Journals of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, Medical Science, and Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Medical Mycology
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Journal of Comparative Pathology

Zoo and Wildlife Journals

An interesting and unique veterinary topic concerns wild animals, which is a fairly recent branch for a few reasons. While one reason might just be a general increase in interest, the bigger culprits are human interactions with the environment. This is due to the fact that we are increasingly doing more damage to the environment and all of the animals that live in it. This means that many important and valuable species are harmed and then need help to survive and recover from the environmental damage.

For instance, hunting and poaching have driven some animals entirely to extinction, and we are now left trying to nurse other decimated populations back to health to prevent the same happening to them. Other animals lose their habitats due to forest logging, oil spills, or global warming of the oceans. Thus, wildlife veterinarians often work with zoologists and conservationists to help these species. If this is a topic that interests you, check out these journals:

  • Zoo Biology
  • Journal of Wildlife Diseases
  • Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Veterinary Reproduction Journals

The reproduction of animals is an important topic for society for a few reasons. First of all, the field relates to the wildlife topic above; vulnerable species and population of animals need help raising their numbers back up. People can help them by figuring out how to help them reproduce as much as possible in the healthiest way. But we also need to understand reproduction for other animals such as domestic livestock and even pets. Breeding programs for dogs and cats need to use quality methods to avoid health and genetic problems. The same goes for livestock, which also need to be produced at adequate rates to meet demand for animal products without creating a surplus that will go to waste. The following journals can provide you with more information on these and related topics.

  • Animal Reproduction Science
  • Biology of Reproduction
  • Reproduction in Domestic Animals
  • Theriogenology

International Journals

Most of the journals listed above are publications in the United States. If you live or work in a different country, or just want to further broaden the scope of your reading, then journals from other areas of the world might interest you. Some of the journals are in other languages, but many provide translations to English. The issues facing different nations can be quite similar, but they can also vary quite a bit at times. This might depend on the physical geography and available wildlife, laws regarding treatment of animals, current events, trends in domestic and companion animal rearing, and more. For those feeling constrained by the limits of US publications, feel free to explore these titles:

  • Australian Veterinary Practitioner
  • British Poultry Science
  • Canadian Journals of Animal Science and of Veterinary Research
  • Canadian Veterinary Journal
  • International Journal of Poultry Science
  • Israel Journal of Veterinary Medicine
  • Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research
  • Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences
  • Revue de Medecine Veterinaire
  • Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research
  • Revue Scientifique et Technique
  • Scandinavian Journal of Laboratory Animal Science
  • Veterinaria
  • New Zealand Veterinary Journal
  • Veterinaria italiana
  • International Journal of Dairy Science
  • Acta Veterinaria, as well as Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, Acta Veterinaria Brno and Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica

High Impact Journals

The above list might seem overwhelming, but don’t panic! Reading any journal will get your foot in the door and add to your veterinary knowledge, so just jump in. And if you really want to be sure to pick the best reading material, you might want to consider impact factors.

An academic journal impact factor is a measurement or index that tries to tell readers and others in the field how important the material is within the field. It uses yearly average citation numbers of recent articles published in the journal, thus showing how often people use it as their source of information.

Higher impact factors indicate that the journal receives more citations and therefore has a higher impact in the academic community. However, there are some criticisms to this method. These criticisms include concerns that the calculation for the factor only presents the mean of the data which is not normally distributed. From this standpoint, a median of the data may be a better method. Other concerns include the overestimated importance of the factor and its effect on editing practices to boost factor scores.

With this in mind, you can further investigate impact factors for various journals online through visiting their sites. For instance, and have pages dedicated to analyzing their rankings in impact factor lists. The 2019 Journal Citation Reports (JCR) itself is published by the Web of Science Group and can be found on their website. There you can learn more about the list, the calculation of impact factors, as well as other interesting statistics.

Reading Veterinary Journals

Once you’ve settled the matter of which journal(s) to read, it’s important to know how to read them. Reading advanced academic material is truly a skill that involves more than just skimming your eyes over the words. This is especially true for younger professionals and students with less experience in the field they are reading about. Whereas a more experienced professional or academic will have a good amount of knowledge in the field and be able to easily place the article they are reading within that context, less experienced individuals won’t have as much background to place the article in.

If you fall into the second group, don’t worry! It will take a bit of work, but experience just comes with time and patience. First, start with those high-impact papers above. Of course, other papers with less impact (those which add small incremental knowledge to the field) are important, too. But they will be easier to understand and follow after you’ve gained a foundation of the most important events in the field.

Then, if you’re looking for certain concepts, focus more sources that explain those concepts rather than the source itself. This might mean expanding to review articles, textbooks, and even Wikipedia pages, YouTube videos, and people.

Throughout this process, be sure to take notes, notice patterns, and make connections between various sources and topics. Pay special attention to introductions, abstracts, and conclusions. These will point out connections to other papers and fields. After a few papers you’ll start to get a sense for the field and be on your way to navigating it like a pro.

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