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A Queensland dog is recovering after giving birth to her biggest ever litter. Shadow, a Neapolitan Mastiff, managed to deliver a whopping 21 puppies this week.
The herculean effort has won her the Australian record for the largest litter.
The four-year-old dog gave birth to three puppies on Monday morning and then Shadow's owner decided to take her to a vet to ensure she had the best possible care.
Veterinarian Patrycja Zimmermann said: "After four hours of no activity and a puppy that didn't make it, her owner brought her into us expecting the worst.
"We took radiographs straight after Shadow's arrival to see if any more puppies were on the way and made the amazing discovery of 10-plus puppies inside.
"We quickly checked the fetal heartbeats, and were praying for the best outcome for her."
Over the next few agonising minutes, a team of 10 vets and nurses managed to find another 18 puppies thanks to an emergency caesarian.
During the birthing period, vets decided that Shadow had to undergo a procedure that would remove her female reproductive organs.
While that sounds drastic, it saved the dog's life and potentially the lives of her puppies.
Tragically, three of the puppies did not survive.
Shadow has now overtaken Melody the Dalmatian in Albury, and Minnie the American bulldog, who both held the Australian record for most amount of puppies in a single litter with 19.
The international title, according to the Guinness World Records, belongs to a Neapolitan Mastiff, who had a litter of 24 puppies in 2004.
Melody's litter was also received with much fanfare when it happened last year.
Melody's owner Melissa O'Brien said her dog gained 15 kilograms during her pregnancy, so she knew it would be a big litter - but she didn't realise quite how big it would be.
They were born by C-section, and Melissa said it was like a 'never ending supply'.
A team of eight people helped O'Brien and Melody deliver the puppies, who all came out white, instead of spotted like their mother. The puppies develop their spots as they get older.
Assisting in the delivery was experienced vet Chris Wolmarans, who told 9 News: "We knew this was big... Everybody had a puppy they were resuscitating, and cleaning, and dealing with.
"It's a picture because they're just white, and you think what's gone wrong here... But the spots actually only come out, sort of, the week later."
The 19 pups consisted of ten male and nine females.
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