UPDATE: Hero dog Kabang’s facial surgeries delayed

DogTime.com told you last week snoutless dog Kabang finally arrived in the United States after an international fundraising campaign raised over $20,000 USD to cover the cost of the mixed breed dog’s transportation from Zamboanga City, Philippines, to the University of California Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. The money also covered the cost of Kabang’s desperately-needed facial surgeries and extended recovery time at the state-of-the-art veterinary hospital.

Kabang’s vaginal cancer must be treated before veterinarians can proceed with her facial surgeries.

Initial examinations were conducted last Thursday by UC Davis veterinary surgeons Boaz Arzi and Frank Verstraete, known for their revolutionary work in the area of oral and dental surgeries. The urinalysis and preliminary bloodwork indicated Kabang would be a good candidate for surgery, and Drs. Arzi and Verstraete developed a treatment plan with Kabang’s regular veterinarian from the Philippines, Dr. Anton Mari H. Lim.

But recent developments in Kabang’s condition have altered the course of her treatment plan. UC Davis veterinarian and Director of the Small Animal Clinic at the teaching hospital, Dr. Jane Sykes, revealed in an October 16 press conference that Kabang’s road to recovery will be much longer and more difficult than previously thought.

The hero dog from the Philippines, who sacrificed her upper snout to save two little girls from an oncoming vehicle almost one year ago, has several serious health issues, forcing veterinarians at UC Davis to postpone Kabang’s facial surgeries until those other ailments are addressed.

After performing full examinations and an array of diagnostic tests, veterinarians discovered Kabang is suffering from heartworm disease, a common condition in dogs who live in tropical areas like the Philippines. A chest x-ray and echocardiogram on October 12 revealed the disease is not in a very advanced stage, and with treatment, veterinarians give Kabang a good prognosis.

As Kabang’s thorough exams continued, a veterinary internal medicine specialist made an awful discovery: a vaginal tumor. Transmissible Venereal Tumors (TVTs) like Kabang’s can often spread quickly, but UC Davis vets are pleased the tumor has been caught very early.

“She has a good prognosis,” Dr. Sykes said during the press conference, explaining the TVT can be treated and may even be curable. Dogs with TVTs that have been caught early often have a 90 percent survivability rate.

Veterinarians plan to start Kabang on an aggressive round of chemotherapy soon.

Unfortunately, these serious health issues must be tackled before Drs. Arzi and Verstraete can go forward with Kabang’s facial surgeries.

Specialists at UC Davis now estimate that Kabang will have to spend anywhere from 3 to 6 months in the U.S. while her heartworm, tumor, and facial wounds are attended to, a stay that is far longer — and far more expensive — than the 6 to 8 weeks initially projected.

To help cover the cost of Kabang’s extensive treatments, well-wishers are being encouraged to contribute to the hero dog’s fund. For more information on how to donate, please visit Kabang’s website, CareforKabang.com.

Sources: VetMed.UCDavis.edu, CareforKabang.com