Kabang, the snout-less dog from the Philippines credited with saving the lives of two young girls last year, relaxes in his caregiver's yard. Photo: Don Preisler, UC Davis
Kabang, the hero dog from the Philippines was officially released from UC Davis veterinary hospital today after an 8-month stay to save her life.
The dog was at the veterinary medical teaching hospital after losing her snout and upper jaw when she saved two young girls in her family from an oncoming motorcycle. Her family did what they could to care for her, but the small shepherd-mix's wounds needed treatment in order for her to survive. She also needed specialized veterinary care.
Kabang arrived in California last October from the Philippines after her remarkable heroic act and survival captured the attention of people around the world. Funds were raised through the private organization Care for Kabang for her nearly eight months of treatments and services for her travel and care were donated.
Kabang before her operation to close her open facial wound. Photo: UC Davis / Gregory Urquiaga
Kabang's case turned out to be more complicated after she was diagnosed with heartworm disease and an infectious cancer. Both needed to be treated before she could get the dental and surgical procedures.
In March she was finally cleared for surgery. She first had oral surgery and reconstruction to one eyelid. She then had maxillofacial surgery to correct her face's open wound. This complex surgery took nearly five hours, but veterinarians are calling it a success.
"The surgery was long but went just as planned, in large part due to the collaborative nature of Kabang’s veterinary team,” veterinary surgeon Boaz Arzi said.
Dr. Arzi performed the surgery with Professor Frank Verstraete, chief of the dentistry and oral surgery service at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. They closed Kabang’s facial wound with skin flaps that were brought forward from the top and sides of her head.
Following that procedure, Verstraete and Arzi collaborated with William Culp, a veterinary soft-tissue surgeon at UC Davis, to reconstruct nasal openings and insert stents in those passages that would allow two new permanent nostrils to form.
Her treatment was a true collaboration, said Professor David Wilson, director of the veterinary medical teaching hospital. He noted that in dealing with Kabang’s case, it truly did "take a village" - in this case an international village to help "this very special dog".
The UC Davis team said that with her facial wound closed, Kabang will be better protected against infection and able to go back to an active life when she returns home to Rudy Bunggal and his family in the Philippines.
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