First-Ever Identical Twin Pups Born to Irish Wolfhound
Identical twins means the exact same genetics. Twins may look slightly different but nearly identical in looks; it’s the genetics that make them identical.
Identical twins are actually quite rare. You will see them in humans about 3.5 times in 1000 live births. They’re found in armadillos but no other animals.
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But in August 2016, a veterinarian in South Africa had to do an emergency C-section on an Irish wolfhound and found something unusual – one placenta with two umbilical cords attached and two pups inside the sacs, along with five other pups, each attached to their own placentas. The two pups attached to one placenta means they were possibly identical twins, as they would have come from the same fertilized egg.
After genetic testing via blood, the results were confirmed: the pups were the first recorded identical twin dogs.
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And just to confirm this, the veterinarian took tissue samples of both pups at six weeks. The same results were seen – the pups had the exact same DNA and were identical twins. And all the other pups of the same litter had different and unique DNA.
Because of the lack of genetic testing in the past, no one seems to know whether or not other identical twins in the dog kingdom have occurred. Everyone believes they are very rare but no one knows for sure.
Another thing that is rare about this whole identical twin birth is that usually when two fetuses are sharing a placenta, then both usually die long before birthing. In horses, both die around the one month gestation mark. They die because the one placenta usually can’t offer enough oxygen and nutrients to both fetuses.
But both identical twin wolfhounds made it through the entire gestation and came out healthy. It’s really a double miracle. These special pups have some important mission; hopefully we’ll find out soon…
By the way, here are some identical twin fun facts:
- If you’re Nigerian, you have a 1 in 22 chance of having twins. If you’re Chinese, your chances are 1 in 250.
- If you’re a twin, your gestational time period is less than someone who wasn’t a twin.
- Let’s say two identical twin guys marry identical twin women. Their children are cousins – legally, but genetically, they are full siblings.
More by Donna Schwontkowski