URBANA, Ill. — A University of Illinois program that provides sterilization procedures at local animal shelters is planning to offer other types of veterinary care to pets living with families in need.

The expanded shelter medicine program will begin in July and offer services such as vaccinations, dental care, heartworm screenings and wellness exams, The News-Gazette reported. It’s funded with the assistance of a three-year grant expected to total more than $500,000 from the Sally Lorraine Sedlak Vaughan Irrevocable Charitable Trust in Springfield, according to the university.

Dr. G. Robert Weedon is the university veterinarian who leads the program. He said the new services aim to assist those who can’t afford private practice veterinary care, rather than to take business away from veterinary practices.

“We don’t want people showing up in a Lexus with puppies just to get a couple of cheap shots,” Weedon said.

Weedon said the care for the animals will be provided by supervised university veterinary students.

“It will be somewhere from no-cost for people who have absolutely no money to low-cost,” Weedon said.

He said the program is modeled after the Humane Society of the United States’ Pets for Life Program, which targets the lack of affordable, accessible pet care in underserved communities.

Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com