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UC Davis Veterinarians Nurse Disfigured Dog Back to Health

Posted: March 21, 2013, 1:55 p.m. EDT

By Clay Jackson

If all goes according to plan, a Filipino dog that was gravely injured when she rushed to save two girls from an oncoming motorcycle should be back home in May.

Kabang, whose upper snout and jaw were severed when she lunged at the motorcycle, arrived in October at the University of California, Davis, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. She was later diagnosed with cancer and heartworm disease.

 After surgery
Kabang wakes up after oral and maxillofacial surgery March 5. Two teeth were removed, a cracked tooth was repaired and a missing left eyelid was reconstructed.
Courtesy of
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine

The first of Kabang’s two reconstructive surgeries took place March 5, when oral surgeons Boaz Arzi, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, and Frank Verstraete, DrMedVet, Dipl. AVDC, Dipl. ECVS, Dipl. EVDC, removed two upper fourth premolars, repaired a cracked front tooth and rebuilt her missing left eyelid.

"Her vets describe her as the ideal patient,” said Rob Warren, the hospital’s communications and marketing officer. "She’s receptive to everyone, and no matter we put her through, she wags her tail.”

Kabang’s second surgical hurdle, scheduled for around April 1, is expected to close the large wound where her upper snout and jaw used to be and create an artificial nasal passage, making breathing easier. She then will be evaluated for about a month and returned to her owner, Rudy Bunggal, when she is deemed fit.

Kabang’s upper snout and jaw cannot be replaced with prosthetics, her doctors stated, and the surgeries are intended only to improve her quality of life.

Well-wishers often wonder how Kabang manages to eat, Warren said.

"She can eat [mostly wet food] with no problem at all,” he noted. "She’s adapted very well to be able to curl her tongue back into her mouth to scoop food.”

Kabang was horrifically injured in December 2011, but Bunggal, the father of one of the two girls, wasn’t interested in euthanizing the 25-pound mixed-breed canine.

Filipino veterinarian Anton Lim, DVM, aided by his Tzu Chi Foundation and the Philippines-based Animal Welfare Coalition, administered antibiotics to Kabang but was unable to do much else.

In February 2012, Karen Kenngott, a Buffalo, N.Y., critical care nurse, caught wind of Kabang’s ordeal and along with the Animal Welfare Coalition started an Internet fundraising campaign with the goal of sending Kabang to UC Davis for treatment.

The initial $20,000 target was met, but the estimated cost of her treatment skyrocketed once UC Davis veterinarians did hands-on evaluations. That’s because they discovered heartworm disease and a transmissible venereal tumor, both of which had to be treated before the oral and facial surgeries could be attempted.

Her expected six-week stay quickly morphed into an anticipated seven-month visit, during which she endured six rounds of chemotherapy and three heartworm treatments.

As of March 20, Kabang had more than 20,000 "likes” on the Care for Kabang Facebook page and had generated donations from more than 23 countries, Warren stated.

He did not have an estimate of the total treatment cost since her arrival at UC Davis.

"The situation is so fluid that I’m not even able to ballpark it,” he said.

Kabang’s caregivers will be sad to see her leave, he said.

"She steals everyone’s hearts around here.”
Kabang undergoes an intake examination Oct. 11, 2012, at UC Davis. From left are Anton Lim, Kabang’s referring veterinarian from the Philippines, and UC Davis veterinarians Boaz Arzi and Amy Fulton.
Courtesy of UC Davis Veterinary Medicine


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UC Davis Veterinarians Nurse Disfigured Dog Back to Health

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Reader Comments
I've been following Kabang almost since the beginning, one of the most heartfelt stories I've ever heard of. Little Kabang has the strongest soul and will to live, it brings tears and happiness to follow her journey. Bless all of the surgeons, doctors and nurses, caregivers, just all of you that have helped Kabang.I believe Kabang is an angel on earth as well as you are her angels.
joanne, Tucson, AZ
Posted: 3/27/2013 11:00:13 PM
I have been following Kabangs story from the start, and am so thrilled to see her doing so well. I have been sharing her story on my website and encouraging people to donate (as I have) for her care. I eagerly await news of her further surgery and thank you to all of you who have aided in her care and treatment.
Trudy, International
Posted: 3/27/2013 1:31:37 AM
I love Kabang like my own pet and to hear good news about her it just make me happy.She's always in my prayer and will always support her to whatever i can. To all the vet. who helped her may God bless you all
May, Henderson, NV
Posted: 3/24/2013 8:56:21 AM
well done to all vets and nurses involved in kebangs treatment. and good luck to her in the future, brave little thing xxx
jan, International
Posted: 3/23/2013 5:27:21 AM
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