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Throat Cancer (Chondrosarcoma) in Dogs

Chondrosarcoma of the Larynx and Trachea in Dogs

Laryngeal and tracheal chondrosarcoma is a type of tumor that affects the larynx and trachea in dogs. It is a relatively uncommon and rapidly spreading tumor that originates in the cartilage, a connective collagenous tissue found throughout the body.

With time, this tumor progresses and aggressively involves the surrounding tissues. Similar to many sarcomas, chondrosarcoma of the larynx and trachea is more prevalent in middle-aged and older dogs. While all breeds are susceptible, males tend to have a slightly higher risk compared to females.


The majority of symptoms are associated with the involvement of the larynx, trachea, and the surrounding tissues.

  • Alterations in voice
  • Loss of bark
  • Harsh, noisy breathing
  • Decreased exercise stamina
  • Respiratory difficulties, potentially leading to mouth breathing in dogs
  • Audible noises during breathing
  • Bluish tint in mucous membranes
  • Sudden collapses
  • Challenges in food ingestion
  • Inability to swallow


The precise cause remains unknown.


Your veterinarian will require a comprehensive medical history leading up to your dog’s onset of symptoms. Routine blood tests, including a complete blood cell count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and platelet count, may yield normal results in such cases.

Radiographic examinations of the neck and chest can aid in confirming the diagnosis, alongside imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. Another diagnostic tool your veterinarian might employ is bronchoscopy, where a tubular device is inserted into the body, typically through the mouth and into the windpipe, allowing for a detailed visual examination. This instrument can also sometimes facilitate tissue sampling for biopsy, potentially avoiding the necessity for more invasive pre-surgical resections at the site.

Samples of fluid from the surrounding area may also be obtained, while lymph node samples might reveal an abnormal quantity of white blood cells, indicating an immune system response to the cancerous tumor.

Radiographs of the area will help determine whether metastasis has occurred.


Due to their aggressive and malignant nature, chondrosarcomas of the larynx and trachea pose significant threats to life. Your veterinarian will likely need to surgically remove the tumor tissue and potentially surrounding tissue. Given the tumor’s potential impact on vital bodily functions, preserving functionality is paramount. Additionally, your veterinarian will strive to maintain laryngeal functions during treatment.

Resection of the affected portion of the trachea may be necessary, with the removal followed by suturing both ends of the normal trachea together, a procedure known as anastomosis. It’s worth noting that radiotherapy typically proves ineffective in patients with chondrosarcoma of the larynx and trachea.

Living and Management

Dogs affected by this type of cancer may survive for several months, but even with successful treatment, their lifespan remains relatively short. Quality of life is a crucial consideration, and many owners opt for peaceful euthanasia for their dogs rather than subjecting them to the stress of surgery.

Providing good nutritional support is vital for maintaining body weight and condition in these patients. Monitoring your dog’s food and water intake during recovery is essential. After surgery, your dog may have a reduced appetite and reluctance to eat or drink in large amounts. Temporary use of a feeding tube inserted directly into the stomach may be necessary to ensure adequate nutrition for complete recovery. Your veterinarian will demonstrate how to use the feeding tube correctly and assist you in establishing a feeding schedule.

Expect your dog to experience soreness after surgery. Your veterinarian will prescribe pain medication to minimize discomfort. Create a comfortable and quiet resting area in your home for your dog, away from other pets, active children, and high-traffic areas. Keep outdoor trips brief and manageable for your dog during the recovery period. Exercise caution when administering pain medications and carefully follow all instructions; accidental overdose of medication is one of the most preventable accidents with pets.

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