Jaime Gukeisen of Brandon is a fur mom to her dog, Rhea, and cat, Moe. Both Rhea and Moe are blood donors for BluePearl’s animal blood donation program.

Giving blood is one of the most important things people can do to help save a life, but did you know blood donors are needed in the animal world too? Unfortunately, human blood cannot be used to donate to our dogs and cats, but our pets can donate to help save the lives of others’ pets.

“The dog and cat blood donation program has been a part of BluePearl for many years, but it has become more known in recent years,” said La Lania Hill of BluePearl. “In the beginning, BluePearl didn’t have a full-time person or staff doing the pet blood donations, it was only done as needed. They only did part-time collections on the weekends and they had some part-time staff who helped with it.”

Now, BluePearl’s main collection site is in Tampa on Busch Blvd., but Hill visits other locations in the area, such as its Brandon location to get blood donations from local pet owners.

“We see our clients for donation about once a month,” Hill said. “Since we see them on a regular basis, we get to know them and their owners, which helps to make the donation process much easier.”

Jaime Gukeisen is a Brandon resident and her dog, Rhea, and cat, Moe, are regular blood donors to BluePearl.

“It was a simple process to get them started,” Gukeisen said. “We made an appointment to do a consultation and blood work to determine Rhea and Moe’s blood type. They also made sure they were healthy enough, on heartworm medicine and up to date on their shots. They want to make sure your pets are healthy so they can donate to help other pets.”

BluePearl wouldn’t be able to fulfill their mission without the invaluable contributions from dog and cat donors. As the pet population continues to grow, so does the number of pets who require blood transfusions. The need is great. Your pet’s donation can ultimately provide the gift of life.

“When pets undergo surgery or are suffering from trauma, autoimmune diseases, heat stroke or other illnesses, they may require blood transfusions, just as humans,” Hill said. “Our blood banks for pets are dedicated to providing a safe and plentiful blood supply to animals in need.”

If you are interested in having your dog or cat become a blood donor, you can visit BluePearl’s website at www.bluepearlvet.com/blood-bank, or call 933-8944 for more information.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.