The first documented set of identical twin puppies were born to an Irish wolfhound in South Africa, according to a paper authored by an international team of veterinarians and recently published in the journal Reproduction in Domestic Animals.
News of the unprecedented birth resonated throughout global media and social media outlets Thursday, with dog lovers worldwide rejoicing at the announcement and sharing photos of the adorably cute pups.
The historic discovery came amid a routine caesarean section of a 4-year-old female Irish wolfhound, the journal’s case report explains. The soon-to-be legendary mother had previously given birth to a litter of 10 puppies, the last five of which were delivered through a similar procedure.
When the surgeon “noticed a bulge” near the base of the momma pooch’s uterus, it continues, he made several incisions to investigate. That’s when the magic happened.
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“Via a longitudinal incision into the body of the uterus, one foetus (Twin A) was delivered from this section of the uterus,” the journal explains. “A second foetus (Twin B) was immediately noticed within the same chorionic bag. Without rupturing either pup’s umbilical cord, the second pup and the placenta were delivered from the uterus.”
“Both pups’ umbilical cords, which were similar in length to the rest of the litter’s, attached to the same placenta.”
Five more “live, normal puppies” were also delivered, with different placentae, it adds.
Although reported in humans, armadillos, horses, cows, pigs, and in extremely rare cases, mice, the sharing of the same placenta by two embryos—called “monozygotic twinning”—“has not previously been genetically confirmed in the dog,” declares the study, adding that genetic profiling ultimately confirmed identical DNA profiles, a first in canines. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of monozygotic twinning in the dog confirmed using DNA profiling,” it declares.
The study was authored by KGM De Cramer of Rant en Dal Animal Hospital in Mogale City, South Africa, JO Nothling of the Department of Production Animal Studies and the faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria, and CJ Joone of the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine at the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at James Cooke University in Townsville Australia.
Whatever the intriguing science behind it all, one thing’s definitive: These miracle puppies are two wildly whiskered cutesy adorable poochies, and have captured hearts and imaginations around the world!
Identical twin puppies were born to a 4-year-old Irish wolfhound, a medical journal declares. (All Photos Credit: Kurt de Cramer)