This past February, a family dog in the Philippines was credited with saving two children from getting hit by a speeding motorcycle, by throwing herself in the path of the bike. The dog named Kabang lost the top part of her jaw and face. It was a horrific injury, but she survived. A local vet asked the family to turn over the dog to their custody for euthanasia. But the grateful family refused to put down the loyal and pregnant dog. Kabang has since given birth to her six puppies.
When people heard about Kabang's courageous actions and her plight, there was outpouring of goodwill and concern for the dog. This week it was announced that Kabang will be flown the the United States so she can undergo reconstructive surgery, in order to survive.
The plan is to fly Kabang over to the US within the month. Karen Kenngott, the US coordinator for Animal Welfare Coalition, said: "The more time that goes by, the more Kabang is at risk of infection. Fungal infections can be especially difficult to eradicate and any infection in the bone can be a lengthy process to treat at best. Her chances are better the sooner she can get those wounds closed." Dr. Kim also agrees speed is of the essence now. Kabang is already losing one of her remaining upper molars, a tooth very important for chewing food because of an earlier infection.
Kenngott said Kabang would be operated on at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital of the University of California in Davis, "under a team of multi-disciplinary doctors and surgeons led by Dr. Boaz Arzi.” Arzi is a maxillofacial and dental surgeon.
Veterinarians in the US also had raised money for Kabang's owners Rudy Bunngal and his wife, Christina accompany the dog to the United States. However, there are some difficulties securing passports for the pair. Despite that problem, everything else is in place to transport Kabang. "So far, the Team Kabang estimated the overall cost for her treatment to reach $20,000. Kabang is expected to be in the US for a month," Lim told GlobalNation Inquirer.
The Philippine Airlines Foundation said they have sponsored four roundtrip tickets for the Bunggals and the two accompanying veterinarians. Maria Carmen Aquino Sarmiento, executive director of the Philippine Airlines Foundation, said in a statement: "The Philippine Airlines through the PAL Foundation will help Kabang, the heroine dog of Zamboanga City to get to UC Davis so she can get her face fixed."
Read more on Kabang's courageous story.
Update: September 1, 2012
Kabang's planned US surgery has been delayed due to a lack of funds, Dr. Anton Lim told the Inquirer. Dr. Lim is the veterinarian administering care to Kabang and who is working with the family and various groups to organize the much-needed surgery that will see Kabang flown from the Philippines to the United States.
Dr. Lim estimates at least $20,000 is needed for Kabang's surgery. Roughly $4300 has been raised so far. A coordinated effort between Kabang's veterinarians, the Tzu Chi Foundation, the Animal Welfare Coalition (AWC), Philippine Airlines, Global Animal Transport, HallMark Inn and UC Davis Veterinary Medicine has been organized. Money raised will go towards the highly-specialized medical procedures and post-operative care for Kabang.
Although plans were originally for Kabang's owners, Rudy and Christina Bunggal, to accompany the dog, they were unable to secure the necessary travel documents. Rudy has since given permission for Dr. Lim to accompany Kabang from the Philippines to the United States.
Presently, Kabang is receiving regular antibiotic treatment. Should the reconstructive surgery go forward, it will involve the grafting of additional skin to cover Kabang's wounds so that she will not have to take antibiotics for the rest of her life.
The Inquirer noted that donations towards Kabang's surgery can be made at www.careforkabang.com.
The video below shows how Kagang eats.
Update September 9, 2012:
Kabang was flown to Manila this morning and will stay there for two weeks to receive stem cell treatment. Veterinarian Anton Lim said the stem cell treatment would boost the dog’s immunity before her flight to United States for further surgery later in September.
Referencing the Dogs Are Family Facebook page, which shared Kabang's story on September 2, the Care for Kabang Facebook page posted, "Please keep sharing this page with your friends. There is great power in that. Over the weekend, information about Kabang got to a page that has over 200,000 "likes." No doubt, that is what caused the spike in donations in the last few days. Keep up the great work, everyone!!"
Currently, the Care for Kabang campaign has raised $10,581.28 in donations, indicating that the Dogs Are Family and DogHeirs community members helped raise almost $6,300! However, the amount raised still falls short of the goal of $20,000 to pay for all expenses for Kabang's surgery.
Update September 14, 2012:
The fundraising goal to pay for Kabang's medical expenses has been reached!
The Care for Kabang Facebook page wrote the following update:
"As of September 14, 2012, Care For Kabang has reached its fundraising goal of $20,000.
Any additional money raised beyond this will be used for unexpected medical expenses incurred at UC Davis and for Kabang’s future health care needs. It is important to understand that medical estimates are an attempt to predict the course of Kabang’s care and represent an APPROXIMATION of the cost to provide care based on her described condition at this time. However, the actual cost may vary due to changes in Kabang’s condition. Therefore, additional donations may be needed."
Update September 22, 2012:
Kabang will be flying to the United States for her surgery on October 8, 2012.
Update October 6, 2012:
The City Government of Makati is throwing a "despedida" or send-off party for hero dog Kabang on October 7. Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, a strong advocate of the worldwide movement for animal welfare and rabies control, encouraged animal lovers and the general public to join the celebration with its theme, "Kabang: Bantay’s BFF."
The activities, which will begin at 6 a.m. Sunday, will be highlighted by the blessing of pets to be graced by Kabang herself and the city's Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) mascot, "Bantay."
Kabang will be flown to the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on the evening of October 8.
Update October 13, 2012:
Dr. Anton Lim and veterinary medical student Heather Kennedy check on Kabang
Canine hero Kabang has arrived in America and veterinarians at UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital examined her on Thursday.
"We are pleased with what we discovered," said Frank Verstraete, one of the veterinary surgeons who conducted an hour-long exam. "We are confident we can improve her condition going forward."
The vets anticipate performing at least two surgeries - one for dental work and another to close the exposed wound on her face protecting her from infection and improving her quality of life.
To reduce the chance of infection and minimize stress for Kabang, the dog will not be available to the news media at this point. Kabang is expected to be at UC Davis for at least six weeks.