Shelter Medicine Program at Illinois

Animal Shelters

The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois supports homeless animals and shelters through various channels.Shelter medicine mobile unit providing spay & neuter for stray cats.

  • While classes are in session, the Junior Surgery Program hosts animals from multiple shelters weekly. Our furry guests arrive each Monday morning for physical examinations, diagnostics, baths, enrichment, sterilization surgeries, and essential treatments. While these animals are under our care, students not only provide necessary therapies, but also do their best to find forever homes for the pets.
  • Our Shelter Medicine Service provides low-cost spay neuter surgeries and other commonly performed surgeries in a shelter setting for a nominal fee. This subsidized care is made possible through grants, including one from PetSmart Charities that allowed us to purchase a mobile surgical unit. We serve both shelter animals and privately owned animals by arrangement at shelters in seven communities throughout east central Illinois.
  • With the generous support of Best Friends Animal Society, we also host Community Cat Days once monthly. On these days, “neighborhood” cats (unowned cats that live outside) are trapped and brought to our college to be altered, vaccinated, microchipped, and ear tipped. If your shelter has a working cat or barn cat program, we can also provide these services when our mobile unit visits your facility.

Our service works closely with the Illinois Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Together, the program offers complimentary shelter consultations and educational seminars for shelter veterinarians and staff.

  • Oftentimes, veterinarians are asked to help out shelters that do not have the resources to employ a veterinarian. As the discipline of shelter medicine has evolved, and the body of knowledge has grown, resources for veterinarians have increased.

    Here are some links for veterinarians interested in working with shelters:

  • According to statistics, more than 70 percent of cats who enter our nation’s animal control pounds and shelters are killed. Progressive shelters are recognizing that feral cats should not even enter a shelter in the first place. There are a number of programs nationwide to sterilize, vaccinate, and return or relocate (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return—TNVR) cats that are unadoptable.

    The Shelter Medicine Program at Illinois is happy to work with shelters to develop and implement a TNVR program. Relocation of unadoptable cats should be a last resort. However, when an unadoptable cat cannot be returned to its original environment, then relocation is a possibility.

    Here are some links to outside organizations with information on management and relocation of community and feral cats: