This article originally appeared on my ongoing series of articles for Flexcin International, Inc as Cancer and Heartworm Disease Prevent Hero Dog Kabang from Undergoing Facial Reconstructive Surgery Have you heard the remarkable tale of Kabang, the Filipino hero dog? It’s quite the inspirational and ongoing story of overcoming adversity. In December, 2011 Kabang, a female, mixed breed pooch hailing from Zamboanga City, Philippines suffered severe injuries when a motorcycle’s wheel spokes lacerated her face. Months later, she’s been diagnosed with both infectious and cancerous disease, which delayed the plan to surgically repair Kabang’s face. This sounds like tough luck for any dog, much less one that traveled 7,000 miles from a foreign country to the U.S for surgery.
How Kabang lost her snoutThe unfortunate circumstance leading to Kabang’s notoriety has led to worldwide praise of her efforts as a hero dog. Reportedly, two young girls (Kabang’s owner’s daughter and niece) were about to be hit by a motorcycle. Kabang intervened and took the blow to her face, severing her muzzle (including her nose) and upper jaw (mandible). She underwent treatment in the Philippines, but was left with severe facial deformities, scarring, and ongoing infection.
Kabang's worldwide attention funds reconstructive surgeryKabang’s story soon spread and financial donations from over 20 countries helped to fund her travel and medical treatment. In October 2012, Kabang was transported from the Philippines to Sacramento, CA for evaluation and treatment at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis.
Complications with Kabang revealedIn preparation for surgery to correct Kabang’s facial trauma, she underwent laboratory testing, which revealed heartworm disease. Additionally, an internal medicine specialist diagnosed Kabang with an unusual cancer in her vagina called a Transmissible Venereal Tumor (TVT). Both of these conditions originated in the Philippines.
Heartworm is a parasitic organism spread from the bite of an infected mosquito that is very prevalent in warm and humid parts of our country and world.
Dogs, too, can suffer from sexually transmitted diseasesIn third world or less developed countries, packs of dogs are more likely to live on the street and mate (as they are typically not spayed or neutered). As a result of sexual contact, these dogs can spread cancer cells leading to the eventual development of TVTs, which are nodules grown on the penis, prepuce (sheath covering the penis), vulva, and vagina.
TVTs and heartworm are preventable diseases, yet regions lacking veterinary medical resources often see these diseases rage out of control.