Throat Cancer (Chondrosarcoma) in Cats

Chondrosarcoma of the Larynx and Trachea in Cats

A chondrosarcoma is a relatively rare and fast spreading tumor that originates in the cartilage, a connective collagenous tissue that is found throughout the body. Chondrosarcomas are one of several types of laryngeal tumors that can effect the larynx and trachea of a cat.

Over time, this type of tumor progresses, aggressively involving the surrounding tissues. As with many sarcomas, chondrosarcomas of the larynx and trachea are more common in middle aged and older cats. All breeds are at risk, but males are often at a slightly higher risk than females.

Symptoms and Types

Most symptoms are related to involvement of larynx, trachea and surrounding tissues.

  • Changes in voice
  • Loss of purr
  • Harsh, noisy breathing
  • Poor exercise stamina
  • Difficulty in respiration, cat may breath with mouth open
  • Loud noises while breathing
  • Bluish mucous membranes
  • Sudden collapse
  • Difficulty in ingesting food
  • Inability to swallow


The exact cause is still unknown.


Your veterinarian will need a complete background medical history leading up to your cat's disease symptoms. Routine blood tests include a complete blood cell count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis and platelet count. The results are frequently normal in such cases.

Radiographic studies of the neck and chest can be helpful in confirming the diagnosis, along with imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans. Another technique your veterinarian may choose is bronchoscopy, by which a tubular device is inserted into the body, in this case through the mouth and down into the windpipe, so that a more detailed visual examination can be conducted. This type of instrument can also sometimes be used to take a sample of tissue for biopsy, alleviating the need for a more invasive presurgical resection at the site.

Samples of fluid from the surrounding area may also be taken, and samples from the lymph nodes may show an abnormal amount of white blood cells, as the immune system reacts to the cancerous tumor.

Radiographs of the area will show whether metastasis has taken place.

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