Veterinarians from the University of California, Davis, say it will be a long road treating the dog who lost half her snout while saving the lives of two girls last year, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The hospital staff said in a press conference that they can’t remember ever seeing a case like that of Kabang – a mutt from the Philippines who jumped in front of a speeding motorcycle to save her owner’s daughter and niece.
In the accident, Kabang lost her snout and upper jaw. Veterinarians in the Philippines were unable to treat the injury, but after Kabang’s story went viral, an online campaign spearheaded by Karen Kenngott, a critical care nurse from Buffalo, N.Y., raised the money to send the dog to Northern California and UC Davis. The veterinary school has the most comprehensive dental and oral surgery services in the world.
At UC Davis, veterinarians discovered Kabang also suffers from heartworm disease and a potentially aggressive tumor, which must be addressed first. Treatment of those conditions could take up to six months, according to Dr. Jane Sykes, director of the institution's small-animal clinic.
If successful, the veterinarians will then perform major dental surgery on Kabang and another operation to close the wound on her face. Left open, the wound puts Kabang at risk of infection and forces her to put excess effort into eating and drinking.
There are no plans to fit Kabang with a prosthetic snout or replace her jaw.
Sykes declined to estimate the total cost of the various procedures but said it would be covered by the dog’s supporters.
"It's an interesting phenomenon that has occurred with this dog," Sykes said. "The story has touched so many people. It's fascinating that it has attracted so much attention when, yes, there are lots of dogs in shelters, and that is a huge issue."
She added: "I believe that Kabang is a great ambassador for dogs and what they can do for people. I think we owe her a service in return."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.