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Kabang, the hero dog from the Philippines, arrives at UC Davis

October 11, 2012

Woman crouching and pointing to a dog without a top jaw

Veterinary medical student Heather Kennedy checks on Kabang's health during an intake exam at the veterinary hospital. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

Almost a year ago, a dog named Kabang lost her snout and upper jaw when she leapt in front of a motorcycle to save two little girls in the Philippines. Today veterinary specialists at the University of California, Davis, examined Kabang to determine what can be done to give her a better chance at a long and healthy life.

During the hourlong, preliminary exam, veterinary surgeons Boaz Arzi and Frank Verstraete assessed Kabang’s overall condition and conducted blood and urine tests.

“We are pleased with what we discovered today,” Verstraete said. “We are confident we can improve her condition going forward.”  

Added Arzi: “Kabang has suffered catastrophic injuries to her face. While we had consulted over photos and video, we were not able to make a proper determination of the care we would be able to offer Kabang until we examined her in person.”

To reduce the chance of infection and minimize stress for Kabang, the dog will not be available to the news media at this point. A written statement from the veterinary team, B-roll and still photos of Kabang’s arrival and initial examination at UC Davis will be available later today in an online press kit.

Verstraete and Arzi are members of the dentistry and oral surgery service faculty at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. The hospital has the most comprehensive dental and oral surgery service of any veterinary teaching hospital in the world, providing surgery for dogs, cats and other animal species.

Arzi and Verstraete are now consulting with Anton Mari H. Lim, Kabang’s veterinarian from the Philippines, to develop a treatment plan for Kabang.

Based on preliminary discussions, Arzi and Verstraete anticipate that Kabang will need at least two surgeries. The first likely would focus on dental work. The second would attempt to close the gaping wound on the dog’s face, protecting her from infection and improving her quality of life.

Kabang is expected to be at UC Davis for at least six weeks.

Contrary to some rumors in the media, there are no plans to fit Kabang with a “prosthetic snout” or to replace her jaw.

An independent, international donation campaign raised the money to bring Kabang and Lim to the United States for a consultation with veterinary reconstructive surgery specialists at UC Davis. Kabang and Lim landed at Los Angeles International Airport late Monday night and arrived in Davis on Tuesday.

The veterinary hospital’s website includes background information on Kabang’s story and will feature continual updates about her care and progress.

About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital  

The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis — a unit of the School of Veterinary Medicine — provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for veterinary students and postgraduate veterinarian residents. The hospital treats more than 35,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows, and even more exotic species. To learn more about the hospital, please go to our website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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