Hero dog Kabang cleared to go home with reconstructed nose

Kabang came through both of those surgeries successfully and has been cared for by veterinary technician Dawn Gillette, who owns and operates All Species Animal Care in Woodland, Calif. Don Preisler/UC Davis

Kabang, the hero dog from the Philippines that lost her snout, was officially released from the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on Monday and will be returning to her owners soon.

"Kabang's care at the teaching hospital was a great example of the synergistic approach we have toward veterinary medicine at UC Davis," 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, said in a press release. "We were able to treat all of the complications that arose with the best specialists available."

The dog underwent eight months of procedures to repair facial damage sustained during a motorcycle accident where she allegedly saved two young girls' lives, in addition to other health conditions that were discovered.

Kabang jumped in front of a speeding motorcycle in December 2011 to save Dina Bunggal 11, and her cousin Princess Diansing, 3, according to the Philippine's Inquirer. However, the motorist drove over her head with the bike's front tire, leading to the dog losing her upper snout, her nose and the lower part of her eyelid.

Owner Rudy Bunggal had fished Kabang out of a swamp a little less than a year before the accident, and the dog had become a family pet, the Inquirer reported. After Kabang saved his daughter and niece, her face wound remained open. City Veterinarian Mario Ariola told the Inquirer that he and his staff recommended that Kabang be put down "after seeing her pitiful state, but the owner strongly objected and we respected their decision."

Rudy Bunggal and his family decided to put Kabang on antibiotics and vitamins to help her ward off infections and boost her immune system, the Philippines' GMA News reported. As news of the dog's heroic act spread, her fans from 18 different countries donated the $20,000 necessary to complete facial reconstruction at the University of California, Davis' William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Kabang arrived at UC Davis in October 2012 from the Philippines. Upon her arrival, it was discovered she had heartworm and a type of infectious cancer, known as a transmissible venereal tumor. The dog needed to undergo treatments to cure those ailments before receiving her reconstructive face surgery.

The dog received heartworm treatment as well as chemotherapy to treat her conditions. The process was completed in February 2012.

On March 5, veterinary surgeons Verstraete and Dr. Boaz Arzi removed two of the dogs upper teeth and reconstructed one of her eyelids.

Later, on March 27, Kabang underwent a five-hour surgery to close facial wounds with skin flaps that were brought forward from the top and sides of her head.

She then had another procedure to reconstruct nasal openings, and stents were inserted to support the formation of two new nostrils.

"The surgery was long but went just as planned, in large part due to the collaborative nature of Kabang's veterinary team," Arzi said in a press release.

Kabang stayed with registered veterinary technician Dawn Gillette in Woodland, Calif. during her stay in the U.S.

The dog had her final examination on May 28 and completed all the vaccinations she needed to be returned to the Philippines. She was also cleared of heartworm.

"We are so appreciative to Rudy Bunggal and his family in the Philippines for entrusting our veterinary team with their precious dog over these many months," Professor David Wilson, director of the veterinary medical teaching hospital, said in a press release.

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