Laryngeal Cancer in Cats and Dogs
What are laryngeal tumors?
Larynx is a part of a throat that contains the vocal cords. Different types of both benign and malignant laryngeal tumors
have been reported in dogs, including rhabdomyoma, osteosarcoma, extramedullary plasmacytoma, chondrosarcoma, and
several others. Rhabdomyomas in the dog may be large but are minimally invasive and don't metastasize. Most other
laryngeal tumor types are very invasive and can spread to other organs throughout the body. The most frequently
observed laryngeal cancer in cats is lymphoma but others have been reported such as squamous cell carcinoma and


How common are laryngeal tumors in cats and dogs?
Cancer in the larynx is rare in cats and dogs.

What are the symptoms of laryngeal tumors in cats and dogs?
Pets with laryngeal tumors typically show progressive change in their voice or bark, exercise intolerance, or lack of appetite.

How is the diagnosis made?
X-rays may reveal a mass in the larynx but in most cases are not necessary. Biopsy samples can be taken under direct
visualization to be sent to the lab for diagnosis confirmation.

Does cancer cause pain in pets?
Pain is common in pets with cancer, with some tumors causing more pain than others. In addition to pain caused by the
actual tumors, pets will also experience pain associated with cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy or
chemotherapy. Untreated pain decreases the pet's quality of life, and prolongs recovery from the illness, treatment or
injury. It is, therefore, essential that veterinary teams that are taking care of pets with cancer should also play a vital role in
educating pet owners about recognizing and managing pain in their pets. The best way to manage cancer pain in pets is to
prevent it, a term referred to as preemptive pain management. This strategy anticipates pain ahead of time and
administers pain medication before the pet actually experiences pain, thus ensuring the pet's maximum comfort.

To learn more about which tumors are likely to cause a lot of pain, how to recognize pain in pets with cancer and what
cancer pain management options are available for your pet, please visit the
Cancer Pain Management section.

Is nutritional support important for pets with cancer?
Cancer cachexia (a term referring to progressive severe weight loss) is frequently observed in pets with cancer. Pets with
cancer lose weight partly because of lack of appetite and partly because of cancer-induced altered metabolism. Some of
the causes for decreased appetite are related to the cancer itself (for example, tumors may physically interfere with food
chewing, swallowing, and digestion process) and some may be related to the side effects of cancer treatment (for example,
some chemotherapy drugs cause nausea and vomiting, and radiation therapy can cause mouth inflammation).

Proper nutrition while undergoing cancer treatment is essential to maintain your pet's strength, improve survival times,
quality of life and maximize response to therapy. Adequate nutritional support was shown to decrease the duration of
hospitalization, reduce post-surgery complications and enhance the healing process. Additionally, pets with cancer need to
be fed diets specifically designed to provide maximum benefit and nutritional support for the patient. To learn more, please
visit the
Cancer Nutrition section.

What are the treatment options for laryngeal cancer in cats and dogs?
Benign laryngeal cancers such as rhabdomyomas can be successfully removed while preserving function. Invasive cancer
can be treated with any combination of
radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery.

What is the prognosis of laryngeal cancer in cats and dogs?
Benign lesions of the larynx have a good prognosis if they can be surgically removed. Because these cancers are rare,
there is not much information available on the prognosis of malignant laryngeal cancers.

Are there any clinical trials for laryngeal cancer in cats and dogs?
Although there are no clinical trials specifically evaluating new treatments for laryngeal cancer, there are several clinical
trials available for cats and dogs with any tumor type for which your pet may qualify. To learn more these trials (which are
partially or fully funded by the institutions), please visit the
Dog Clinical Trials (any tumor type) or Cat Clinical Trials (any
tumor type) section.  

To learn more about veterinary clinical trials in general, please visit the
Pet Clinical Trials section.

  • Withrow Stephen J, and David M. Vail. Small Animal Clinical Oncology. St Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 2007.
  • Morrison Wallace B. Cancer in Dogs and Cats: Medical and Surgical Management. Baltimore: Williams&Wilkins, 1998.
Comprehensive guide to cancer diagnosis and treatment in cats and dogs
© 2007 Pet Cancer Center. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Last updated 2/19/2017