Midwestern University is using a mobile veterinary clinic to teach students and care for animals across the state.
"There's a huge number of folks who just don't have access to veterinary services," said Dr. Rachael Kreisler, Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine.
Kreisler said the university works with cities, tribes, shelters and rescue organizations to perform surgeries -- mostly spaying and neutering -- on cats and dogs. Through a grant from PetSmart, the mobile clinic was custom built and services are provided for free.
Most of Midwestern's 400 veterinary students will work on the truck at some point during their education, Kreisler said. Students can also choose to participate in a two- to four-week rotation.
"We can do some high-quality medicine and really get through a lot of dogs and cats every day," said fourth-year student Analucia Aliaga, who completed a four-week rotation and returned to work on the mobile clinic a second time.
The truck can hold up to 18 small animals and has space for two surgeries at once.
Toni Elich, Director of the Animal Advocates Rescue Fund, said her organization "wouldn't be able to help half the animals we do" without the Midwestern resource.
ABC15 witnessed surgeries in action outside Peoria Ford, where Elich had gathered about twenty animals and the clinic was parked.
Elich said paying out of pocket could cost up to $300 per cat and dog.