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Witnessing birth, no matter if it is a human or an animal, is always beautiful and special. But in 2016, one particular puppy birth story took the Internet by storm. It was indeed a story like none other; as this litter had a pair that could be the first of its kind to be ever known by the world!

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This news came all the way from South Africa, where a lovely 4-year-old Irish wolfhound was due delivery for the second time. She had given birth to ten beautiful pups earlier. However, her labor had become too painful after delivering five pups and so the next five had to be delivered via a C-section. The complications in her previous pregnancy obviously affected her next delivery as well.

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Luckily, this wolfhound had very loving owners. They took her to one of the best veterinarian clinics in Mogale city famous by the name of Rant en Dal Animal Hospital and run by Dr. Kurt de Cramer. Even Dr. Kurt had no idea that this seemingly usual cesarean delivery would turn his career around for good.

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When the dog was brought in to the hospital, her cervix had already opened up. But the dog was unable to push the puppies out of her vagina. Her painful screeches made it obvious that she was dealing with a great amount of pain. It was then when Dr. Kurt informed the owners that they would have to conduct another cesarean section.

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The owners instantly gave their consent to perform C-section as Dr. de Cramer was one of the best and they knew that their dog was in safe hands. As a matter of fact, Dr. Kurt had extensive experience in canine delivery and had carried out almost a thousand cesarean deliveries the previous year.  But little did anyone know that this delivery was nothing like any he had dealt with previously.

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While preparing for the operation, Dr. Kurt noticed that there was a strange lump alongside the dog’s uterus. He thought that the protrusion was due to excessive fluid around the fetus. So, he decided to pull out this particular fetus first in order to avoid any further complications. But it turned out that his guess was wrong.

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When he made an incision along the uterus to pull out the first fetus, he saw something that he had never expected to. He noticed that there were two fetuses instead of one. So, the dog was expecting twins. But what shocked him was the kind of twins this dog was going to be a mother too.

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The two pups were attached to the same placenta through their individual umbilical cords. This meant that these two were monozygotic or in layman terms, they were identical and had split from the same embryo. Dr. Kurt could not believe his eyes but he had five other puppies to attend to. So, he pulled them out and carried on the operation.

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The rest of the pups were attached to their own individual placentas. And, this only reminded Dr. Kurt the unusual delivery he just attended to. The reason he was so surprised was that never in his 26 years of extensive experience as a vet had he ever delivered twins. This made him wonder if he had just become a part of the miraculous delivery and got the jitters to do some research.

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Even as he congratulated the owners and gave them the good news, he couldn’t believe the news himself. So, he returned to his office and started the research. And he found out that twin delivery and that too identical is indeed very rare in case of animals. He was now excited to know if it could be an important milestone for his profession. He was about to find out soon.

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In an interview with BBC Earth, Dr. Kurt said, “When I realized that the puppies were of the same gender and that they had very similar markings, I also immediately suspected that they might be identical twins, having originated from the splitting of an embryo.” But he wanted to be absolutely sure so decided to do something about it.

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The reason why Dr. Kurt was still unsure to label the pups as identical was that the two pups had very visible differences in the markings. So, after taking owner’s consent, he conducted genetic tests on the newborn twins in association with Carolynne Joone- a reproductive specialist at ‘James Cook University’ in Australia. And when the results came out, it was confirmed that the two pups were, in fact, monozygotic. But there was still more to be excited about.

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What was even more exciting was the fact that this was the first ever reported case of monozygotic twin pups. And, it was a miracle that the two pups were absolutely healthy; as during his research, Dr. Kurt also found out that identical twins usually do not survive in case of many animal species, including dogs. The reason being- the two fetuses do not get enough nutrition by sharing just one placenta.

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The owners named the twins ‘Cullen’ and ‘Romulus’. It was only a matter of time that the story went viral on the Internet. And these two lovely pups became the first ever known identical pup twins ever. In fact, their birth video was also been uploaded online and received millions of views. It was then when somebody questioned if it could really be the first ever case of twin pups.

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Joone responded to the questions with the statement that, “There have been rumors about twins in dogs before. We just happened to be lucky enough to be able to confirm it genetically. Believe it or not, the only common examples of animals that frequently give birth to identical twins are humans or 9-banded armadillos. And for now, Cullen and Romulus remain the only confirmed case of identical twin pups on the planet.”