St. Patrick’s Day came early for one Canadian family when their dog gave birth to a healthy litter of puppies — including one little gal who came out green!
The pup was a surprise all around, and not just because of her unusual coloring. Trevor Mosher and his wife, Audra Rhys, were anticipating the birth of seven puppies from their American valley bulldog, Freya. But after those seven were born on Jan. 27, Freya went back into labor.
Mosher and Rhys were initially concerned: The surprise eighth pup came out in a black-tinged amniotic sac. (Typically, the sac is mostly clear.)
The puppy was alive, though, and entered the world with an amazing trait: Green fur! Here’s a post Rhys made on Facebook showing images of the entire litter:
“We started to dry her off and noticed she was green and immediately again thought something was wrong,” Mosher told Canadian site Global News. “So we Googled it … and apparently it is very rare and it has happened a few times all over the world.”
Indeed, less than two years ago a green puppy was born in Italy — named Pistachio, of course — and another in North Carolina. That little guy was named Hulk.
What causes the color? It is likely the result of contact with meconium — aka infant poop — which may mix with fluid from the placenta inside the amniotic sac. Meconium may contain a bile-making chemical called biliverdin, which is also a green pigment.
“Each puppy is located within their own sac in the uterus, and the sac is full of fluid,” vet tech Suzanne Cianciulli told CNN. “If they have meconium in that sac, it will actually stain their fur.”
Here are some images of the green puppy that Rhys posted to Facebook while ruminating about name suggestions:
Cianciulli pointed out that the green staining would likely be invisible on pups born with darker fur. It’s harmless, as long as the pup did not ingest the meconium or have long exposure to it.
In any case, the green stains will fade over time and the pups’ natural fur color will emerge. So the Nova Scotia pup will eventually lose her dye job and look like her littermates.
Mosher is just glad he was up close to such an unusual phenomenon.
“I’m kind of amazed, really,” he told Global News. “As rare as it seems to be, I feel very lucky to have witnessed it and be a part of it.”
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.