Shelter Medicine

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Shelter medicine team with puppies

Welcome to the UTCVM Shelter Medicine Program and Spay-Neuter Mobile Service. Our service trains veterinary students in surgery and shelter medicine while providing assistance and advice to animal shelters, humane societies, community cat programs, and rescue groups. During the two-week spay-neuter rotation, students travel with our modern, mobile clinic to shelters surrounding Knoxville to learn safe and effective anesthetic and spay-neuter surgical techniques. 


  • Inclusive outreach and excellence in teaching to improve animal welfare and overpopulation problems in East Tennessee and beyond.
  • To provide our students with the knowledge and ability to be competent veterinarians and make a change in the communities they practice in after graduation.


In 2013, the Companion Animal Initiative in Tennessee (CAIT) established the first spay-neuter rotation for our fourth-year veterinary students. The instant success of the elective led to the purchase of a mobile surgical unit with three surgical tables thanks to a generous grant from PetSmart Charities Inc in 2014. CAIT works with various granting agencies to ensure the mobile unit is properly equipped to train veterinary students and assist regional shelters. Currently, the mobile unit receives support from The PetCo Foundation, the Alliance of Women Philanthropists, and private donors. If you would like to support our program, please visit our give page and locate Shelter Medicine under Public Health and Outreach. 

Our Shelter Medicine and Outreach team (aka: TEAM AWESOME) also works alongside UTCVM’s Veterinary Social Work Program and Human Animal Bond in Tennessee.

Support Us

At the end of 2019, the Shelter Medicine service had spayed or neutered over 5800 unowned cats and dogs, most of which have now found forever homes. Support the Shelter Medicine Fund.