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Heroic dog ready to return home to Philippines after successfully treated for lost snout

P8010053_thumb By Tamara | June 03, 2013 | Comments (18)

Kabang after her surgeries at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital
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
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.

More on Kabang:

Kabang has been treated and is ready to return home

View more articles in: Community News

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Comments on this Article

Thanks god!!! may god bless her!!!
Kabang is absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much for saving her life!!
I pray they ask her owners to have her adopted in the US... i am from the Philippines myself but Kabang is a special needs dog and her family cannot afford the medical attention she might be needing in the future. If i were her owner, i would return the favor she gave me by giving her to people who can better meet her medical needs too! What will they feed her? Normally, in cases like this, here in my country, they give left overs! That may include bones, fish bones... it is understandable, i do not mean to criticize, we are a poor country and the humans' needs come first.
I just emailed the school to see if I can find out how they came to the decision to send her back. I am terrified for her.
I have been following this story from day 1 when I saw the first article about her accident and how she saved their lives. But I also remember reading in the article that the family originally got this dog to EAT HER. YES EAT HER!! I don't know whose idea it is to send this poor thing back but I truly hope someone steps in and adopts her before they do...
thank you Robert for putting it that way, and i do agree, it's other people's projection of how kabang would be when she goes back HOME.. of course the physical aspect of well being is very important, however people tend to forget that there is more to life (humans and dogs) than "all physical" well being.. so with the love of her family, and the support of those who have the knowledge on how to go about her condition, kabang would do just fine.
I completely agree with Stephanie. If you want to give her a real chance at life, give her a safe environment and caretakers who can afford medical care when it arises, because it will happen. She has suffered very serious injuries and I can't see any way around the fact she will need special care. She's at peace now; why cause turmoil by sending her back?
If you watch the video of where she comes from, you would NEVER send her back. After she rescued the family she was laying on the sidewalk resting right next to traffic. She hadn't had any medical care at that point either. She is going to need follow up care and the people don't look like they can afford to do much for her. Judgmental or not, she's happy here and deserves a safe life, which I don't see happening there.
She looks perfectly happy where she is at. Everyone has a right to their opinion. From the story it sounds like she roams freely there. If so why send her back to a place where she is permitted to roam so freely, perhaps even suffer abuse from others because of her appearance? People can be cruel. Also can the family care for her medical care? If these answers are she has a safe area to live and her family can care for her when she needs it then I am wrong. The story doesn't explain those things.
http://youtu.be/9p0fnSOqHTA -- Watch the video. Does this dog look in any way look distressed to you? She is a happy (and now a healthy) dog whose family is going to get a lot of support for her care. Why would anyone even think putting her down should be an option?
i remember reading about this dog who saved the 2 little girls. i wondered what happened to the dog and now i see. I am a true animal lover and would not agree to euthanizing an animal but in this case, i wonder if it would of been kinder as i do not know if the dog can function without his upper jaw and snout. how does Kabang eat and how will he drink as well how will his mouth stay moist. when dogs get hot or overheated they pant to cool off , will Kabang be able to do this, i realize they can sweat through their paws but is that enough. I also read that he had cancer and hw is the cancer gone?hw can be treated. Did all this intervention just buy him a bit more time? Was he put through all this so the family could return the favor so of speak? Is the family able to provide for him and his medical needs, will he have a lifetime of free medical care as im sure the family is not loaded with money(no offense intended) I worry about him. thank you USC Davis for saving him. I hope Kabang is not shunned back home by the way he looks and someone does not harm him, i hope children will not be scared by the way he looks as it is extreme I guess we will find out.God bless you Kabang, i hope you have a long and happy life.
If you see the video of Kabang's then you would know that this is a happy dog, a happy dog who wants to live. And why do people just assume she would live a terrible life because of her condition & being sent back to the Philippines? You're all projecting. YOU might be miserable if you were in her place but fortunately she's just a happy dog who's getting on with life. I can't even deal with the hubris of somehow thinking she can only be happy in the US. Wow.
Why in the world would you put this dog through a trip back to the Philippines?! She obviously needs special care. I am one that is happy she was saved because her life matters, and that is exactly why I do not understand at all why you would put her through more trauma by sending her back there. That seems wrong to do to HER. Yes, she has a family there, but her life is not the same now. Give her a chance to live a few years.
It makes me sad that she has gone through all this only to be sent back to the place this happened like a punishment. I love animals and would do nearly anything for them but when I first saw her picture last year I thought it would have been better to put her to sleep. She seems happy so that's good but I would never send her back.
I totally agree with Elaine and Lauren on this one. It would have been far kinder to put Kabang to sleep. In Kabang's case it seems that quantity of life was more important than quality.
Elaine, the thing is that only cases like these attract tons of donations. The nondescript (although more viable) cases do not get any attention. Frankly I think Kabang's quality of life will suck, but I guess all creatures have their path & this is hers.
This is tragic, that this dog was so scarred by an act of heroism. But in a world of scarce resources, I feel this lovely dog should be put down. You're not supposed to say that on dog website, as if every dog requires heroic intervention to prolong their lives...But a dog with this kind of acute injury, an upper jaw and snout removed (!!), will lead to infection and problem; nor can it defend itself or keep its own mouth moist. They also write the dog has heartworm and cancer. I do feel the saving of this dog was for the caregivers, and not the dog. Today we will destroy hundreds and hundreds of perfectly able dogs, all ready and willing to give love and sacrifice as this lovely dog has done. #scarceresources #useCommonSense #rainbowbridge
Oh, the poor baby, how in the world can she eat? and how does her mouth stay moist? Are they really prepared to look after her at her home? Looks like she still acts like a doggy, playing with her toys. Wow! I pray she will have a happy life. God bless her...
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