This is not your typical litter of puppies: A Great Dane delivered 19 babies at an Arizona animal hospital on Feb. 23.
It’s a super-litter. A mega-litter. A preponderance of pups.
Mom Cleo had a lot of help, of course. Kingman Animal Hospital brought in extra staffers to help care for the newborns as hospital medical director Erika Angone performed a Caesarean section. All the pups, and Cleo, came through the procedure just fine.
“It was like never-ending puppies,” Angone told ABC News.
Just as in humans, C-sections are a relatively common, but major, procedure for dogs. Certain breeds are more likely to need a C-section to deliver pups, but according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, Great Danes aren’t one of those breeds.
Boston terriers, bulldogs and French bulldogs, on the other hand, require a Caesarean more than 80 percent of the time.
Just look at all the cuteness captured in this photo posted to the Kingman Animal Hospital Facebook page:
In Cleo’s case, the enormous size of her litter indicated a C-section to protect her safety and the pups’. According to Angone, the typical litter for a Great Dane is 10 puppies or less. Cleo was carrying almost double that!
Much like a human mama after giving birth, Cleo is home resting with her babies. The pups get a bottle-feed every three hours — nursing with 18 siblings is probably a competitive business.
This photo that the animal hospital posted to Facebook shows that even cuddling with mama Cleo is a tight squeeze:
Cleo’s owners created a Facebook page called “Cleo’s Legacy Pups” to help find the newbies homes when they’re ready. In general, it’s safe for most pups to be adopted at 8 to 12 weeks of age.
Cleo was spayed after birthing her extra-large brood. She carried and delivered two litters’ worth of pups in one shot, after all. Right now it’s time for her to recover and put on some weight — the Cleo’s Legacy Facebook page said that “having 19 puppies made her deflate instantly.” (Woof.)
Good girl, Cleo! You get all the treats!