Excluding Animal Studies

When searching the biomedical literature, you may encounter animal studies on your topic that you want to exclude. An animal exclusion search filter will help you to do so.

An animal exclusion search filter is a predetermined search strategy that uses text words (names of different animals) as well as subject headings to locate animal studies and selectively remove them from your final results.


Below, you will find an example of an animal exclusion search filter being applied to a search run in Medline via Ovid. Begin by running your search as you normally would (in this case, we have conducted a search on diabetes and the ketogenic diet, sets 1-7). When you are satisfied with your results, add the animal exclusion filter (sets 8-10, highlighted in brackets) to your search to locate animal studies and remove them from your final set (set 11).

Example :

Searching more than one database? MUHC librarians have developed search filters to selectively remove animal studies from searches in the following databases:



Please note:

  • These search filters are not validated for sensitivity/specificity/precision. More information on the validation of search filters is available here and here.
  • Different databases use different terminology, so it’s important to use the appropriate filter for the database you are working with.
  • Remember that each search is different! For example, using the word “canine” may be appropriate for one search but will not be for a search on topics related to dentistry. The same goes for “murine” which may be related to ears.

PDF printing version :

To learn more about searching the biomedical literature, register for a training session, or contact your hospital librarian.

Published June 13, 2019