By Jacob Sturm
A noticeable trend is becoming a cause for a Mustang veterinarian’s concern.
Cases of thyroid cancer in local dogs have skyrocketed over the past three months according to Dr. Terry Wood of the Mustang Veterinary Hospital.
“It actually started about a year ago,” Wood said. “We just had a few cases, and then in just the last three months we’ve had 20-25 mainly in dogs. I’ve had one cat…Thyroid cancer in cats are much worse than in dogs”
Wood said thyroid cancer cases are not common. He said people were coming in with pets coughing and having a hard time swallowing food off the bowls on the ground. In those cases, the thyroid gland was massive. The thyroid gland, according to Wood, is especially susceptible to environmental toxins.
The Mustang Veterinary Hospital has treated animals from Mustang, Yukon, Tuttle, Oklahoma City and more for this issue.
That doesn’t help narrow down the reason for the cases uptick. One possibility could be toxins in water, but since each Municipality gets water from different sources that wouldn’t seem to be a common trend.
Water is also frequently tested in cities like Mustang.
For instance, Mustang’s water is tested weekly. It is also analyzed by an independent laboratory before the results are sent to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Following concerns raised on the thyroid cancer uptick, DEQ sent an Environmental Specialist to sample some water out of an abundance of caution in the past week according to a spokesperson with the agency. Those results are not available yet.
The spokesperson also said all public water suppliers are required to do routine sampling and monitoring of drinking water. The routinely taken sample results are sent to DEQ.
The water in Mustang also complies with State and Federal regulations and is safe to drink.
Currently, Mustang has 11 wells producing water. The most updated results as of press time (Feb. 1) show an absence of coliform and microbials at each Mustang site.
Justin Battles, the Assistant City Manager for Mustang, said the daily reservation rate is roughly around 690,000 gallons received from Oklahoma City. He said that means Mustang tries to provide a steady stream of that water source, which could account for various percentages depending on the systems.
Battles indicated the well system can produce Mustang’s current need. He said that base rate with Oklahoma City allows for anticipated growth in the future.
All Mustang water has free chlorine, which is a small system at the county line tower since all of Mustang’s water is produced as well water. Free chlorine in drinking water is nontoxic to humans and is added to water to help kill harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria, which could make people sick if they are ingested. Oklahoma City provides water that they treat before sending it to Mustang.
“I’ve seen a problem, identified it, and I’m trying to follow my training which says if you see an anomaly that is consistent (thyroid cancer in dogs) you need to tell somebody,” Wood said. “Don’t just sit there and not do anything about it. I’m trying to be a good citizen about this.”