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Chondrosarcoma (Tumor of the Larynx and Trachea) in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Laryngeal and tracheal chondrosarcomas are malignant, slow growing, progressive, invasive tumors of the larynx or voice box and trachea, which is the windpipe. These tumors have no known cause and are extremely rare in small animal veterinary medicine.

Laryngeal and tracheal chondrosarcomas are seen in both dogs and cats, most commonly in middle aged and older animals. Males seem to be more commonly affected than females.

What to Watch For

  • Change in voice
  • Loss of bark
  • Harsh or noisy breathing
  • Exercise intolerance (inability)
  • Respiratory distress (difficulty)
  • Coughing
  • Drooling
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Cyanosis (blue color to the mucus membranes/gums)
  • Acute collapse

    Diagnosis

  • Complete blood cell count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Chest and neck X-rays
  • Aspirate cytology
  • Endoscopy and biopsy
  • Surgical biopsy for a definitive diagnosis

    Treatment

  • Surgical removal may be performed for localized small tracheal tumors.

  • Laryngectomy, or removal of the larynx and associated tumor, is recommended in some cases of laryngeal tumors. These necessitate a permanent tracheostomy, which is a surgical creation of an opening into the trachea through the neck.

  • Radiation therapy may be of some benefit in certain cases.

  • Antibiotic therapy may be helpful in controlling secondary infection.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer any medication and follow-up as directed by your veterinarian. If your pet's condition is not improving or is getting worse, seek veterinary attention at once.

    Overall, laryngeal and tracheal chondrosarcomas are very aggressive and carry a guarded prognosis.

    There is no preventative care for chondrosarcoma.

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