We’ve been following the story of Kabang, the hero dog who lost her snout when she jumped in front of a motorcycle and saved two little girls in the Philippines, for a long while now.
Finally, it’s over. Kabang has been successfully treated and is heading back to her family in the Philippines. She doesn’t have a new snout — that was never part of the plan — but she’s had a bunch of work done to give her a good life, free of infection and pain.
You’ll recall that after losing her snout, Kabang’s online fame grew, allowing an international effort dubbed Project Kabang to raise the money to bring the dog to the United States back in October. Unfortunately, after Kabang finally arrived at UC Davis’ famed Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, vets discovered she was suffering from heartworm and a type of infectious cancer, known as a transmissible venereal tumor.
A team of vets — specializing in oncology; infectious diseases; dental, oral and soft-tissue surgery; internal medicine; and outpatient care — went to work on Kabang with multi-pronged approach, completing a series of treatments one after another for nearly eight months.
“Kabang’s care at the teaching hospital was a great example of the synergistic approach we have toward veterinary medicine at UC Davis,” said professor Frank Verstraete, chief of the dentistry and oral surgery service at the school’s William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
“We were able to treat all of the complications that arose with the best specialists available,” he said.
In February, heartworm and cancer treatments were completed. On March 5, vets performed the first oral surgery to remove two of the Kabang’s upper teeth and reconstruct one eyelid.
Then, on March 27, Kabang underwent a five-hour surgery to close her facial wound with skin flaps, reconstruct nasal openings, and insert stents in those passages that would allow two new permanent nostrils to form.
“The surgery was long but went just as planned, in large part due to the collaborative nature of Kabang’s veterinary team,” said veterinary surgeons Boaz Arzi.
Outfitting Kabang with a new snout is beyond vet science at this point, but the dog has been cleared for an active, infection-free life back in the Philippines with her family. We wish her the best.
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