Chondrosarcoma is a malignant tumor of connective tissue. Two common types of chondrosarcoma are recognized: myxoid, the most common type found in skeletal tumors, and mesenchymal, a rarer type found more often in extraskeletal sites. Most chondrosarcomas develop from the skeletal cartilage, but some extraskeletal chondrosarcomas occur in the tissues that possess preexisting cartilage. In dogs, some extraskeletal chondrosarcomas occur in the heart and lung, including cartilage, whereas others were seen in the spleen, where no cartilage originally existed. Chondrosarcoma is the second most common primary tumor of the bone in both humans and dogs that accounts for approximately 5% to 10% of all canine primary bone tumors.

Chondrosarcomas are often found in the ribs and nasal cavity. Rib-based chondrosarcomas may have few or no clinical problems, but intranasal chondrosarcomas often present with sneezing, bleeding, nasal obstruction, discharge, and gurgling sounds from the nares.2 Canine chondrosarcoma tends to grow more slowly and develop metastasis later and with much less frequency than osteosarcoma. Metastasis, when it does occur, is usually to the lungs, but other organs, such as the kidney, heart, liver and skeleton may also be affected. Surgical removal of chondrosarcomas in accessible locations, such as ribs and limbs is curative more often than for osteosarcomas. For dogs with long bone chondrosarcoma, the median survival time after limb amputation alone (no chemotherapy) is about 1.5 years. Approximately 20% of dogs with chondrosarcoma develop metastases, but these usually occur late in the course of the disease. Chemotherapy does not decrease the metastatic rate or improve survival time in dogs with chondrosarcoma. Although this type of bone cancer is very aggressive, it has a lower rate of spreading to other areas in the body than does osteosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma is associated with a relatively favorable prognosis, with average survival time up to 3 years.3

Extraskeletal mesenchymal chondrosarcomas in the dog have been documented in the lungs, heart, and spleen. These are extremely rare tumors. The mean age of the dogs with extraskeletal osteosarcoma is around 11 years, and the mean age of the dogs with extraskeletal chondrosarcoma is about 14 years. The median survival time for dogs with skeletal chondrosarcoma varies between 201 and 1080 days, with treatment, depending upon the location and type of the tumor. Chondrosarcoma of the skull is a rare primary malignant tumor that is slow-growing, but locally aggressive. Nasal chondrosarcoma is the most common tumor of the nasal passages in the dog. Golden retrievers have about 3 times greater risk of developing chondrosarcoma than any other breed. The nasal cavity is the most common site (28.8%), followed by the ribs (17.5%), appendicular skeleton (17.5%), extraskeletal sites(13%), and facial bones. Because chondrosarcoma is highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, surgical treatment is the only option for curative treatment. Radiation therapy has been used in chondrosarcoma therapy, but success has been variable. Currently, chemotherapy is probably the least effective therapy for chondrosarcoma.4


  1. A Handbook of Veterinary Parasitology: Domestic Animals of North America. Henry Joseph Griffiths
  2. Textbook of small animal medicine. John K. Dunn
  3. Textbook of veterinary surgical nursing. Carole Martin, Jo Masters
  4. Canine Medicine and Disease Prevention

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