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What is Tumor of the Throat?

A tumor in the throat in dogs is an uncommon occurrence. However, it does happen and can have serious consequences for the health of your pet. A growth in the throat area can be benign, but may also be malignant. In some instances, a tumor in the throat will arise because of a malignancy elsewhere in the body. Surgery is usually the standard method of removal, along with treatment for the underlying cause if needed.

The throat can be the location of many types of tumors in canines, with two examples being tonsillar and tracheal. Often masses of aggressive nature, malignancy is common, and detection at an early stage will offer the best prognosis.

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Tumor of the Throat Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$8,500

Symptoms of Tumor of the Throat in Dogs

Signs can be different from one tumor to another, and can vary in severity due to the location and size of the mass. If you see your furry family member showing any of the signs listed below, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

  • Weakness
  • Regurgitation of undigested food or blood
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Irritation of the throat
  • Change in bark tone
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • Respiratory distress or noisy breathing
  • Bluish colored mucus membranes (cyanosis)
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive salivation and drooling (ptyalism)
  • Odorous breath (halitosis)
  • Swelling in neck or throat area
  • Difficulty participating in exercise, or lack of interest in usual activities
  • Possible changes in drinking and urinary habits
Types

The list for types of tumors of the throat in dogs is very extensive. Some of the growths that can be diagnosed are found below.

  • Laryngeal tumor
    • These are found on the wall of the larynx and can cause a respiratory obstruction
    • Laryngeal oncocytomas occur most often with young dogs, but are fortunately minimally invasive
    • Chondrosarcomas of the larynx are mostly of the malignant sort and develop in connective tissue of the larynx
    • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx can form in the upper, middle or lower area
  • Tracheal tumor
    • Chondrosarcomas of the trachea often spread to regional lymph nodes
    • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea will invade other regions of the body like the esophagus, thymus and lymph nodes of the chest
  • Tonsillar tumor
    • These tumors are highly metastatic and will metastasize early in their development to organs and regional lymph nodes
    • Squamous cell carcinoma tumors can invade the bone and are highly aggressive
  • Esophageal tumor
    • Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is often found in German Shepherds, Basset Hounds, collies, Keeshonds, and Schnauzers
    • Studies show an infestation of parasitic worms called spirocerca lupi can cause osteosarcoma of the esophagus
  • Thyroid tumor
    • This type of mass can appear in the esophageal area
    • They are usually large and invasive
    • Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers and Beagles are breed predisposed
  • Mast cell tumor
    • The average age for dogs with this growth are nine years of age
    • Boxers, Boston Terriers, Beagles, Bulldogs, and Schnauzers are presented often in studies
    • The location is found all over the body, but in the throat, it is usually on the larynx

It should be noted that the closer a tumor is to the lymph nodes of the throat, the more chance there is that it will metastasize.

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Causes of Tumor of the Throat in Dogs

The definitive cause for tumors of the benign or malignant type is an ongoing study for scientists and researchers; a cure is hopefully within reach. Reasons that your canine companion may have developed a mass in the throat are listed below.

  • Genetics
  • Infection
  • Invasion of cancerous cells from elsewhere in the body
  • Cell malformation
  • Damaged cells being replaced by cancerous cells
  • Age
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Chronic inflammation
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Diagnosis of Tumor of the Throat in Dogs

The variety of tumors that can present themselves in the throat of our beloved canines is extensive. Because of this fact, the diagnosis procedure could be of an extensive nature as well.

Learning that your pet has a tumor can be a distressing time. Remember to allow your veterinarian to use her expertise in the diagnostic process; her goal is to provide the utmost care to your canine family member. Methods that will be considered as part of the evaluation and investigation could include the following.

  • A complete blood count, chemical profile, and urinalysis are usual starting points
  • Radiographs of the trachea or esophagus could be done if the tumor is suspected to be located there
  • A chest and neck radiograph may be done
  • Fine needle aspirate cytology could be needed to check the lymph nodes for cancer cells
  • An endoscopy or bronchoscopy may be done, depending on where the tumor is, and whether the procedure would be risky
  • A biopsy might determine if cell death or inflammation are present
  • A thyroid function test (blood test T4) will measure the level of thyroid hormones in the blood
  • Nuclear scintigraphy may be suggested (radioactive material is injected to locate cancer, and it’s spread)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can evaluate the invasion of cancer into bone, lymph nodes, and lungs, or the nasal, oral and ocular areas

Many of these diagnostic tests will require your dog to be sedated or put under general anesthesia. He will be carefully monitored throughout.

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Treatment of Tumor of the Throat in Dogs

Your veterinarian will discuss which method of treatment will offer the best prognosis for your family pet. The options will always depend on the health condition of your pet when the tumor is discovered, his age, how comfortable he is in regards to airway restriction, and his general sense of well-being. It should be noted here that treatment is not always an option. If a tumor is malignant and cancer has spread aggressively, the best solution for the sake of your dog may be palliative care or euthanasia.

In the case of a tumor that is benign, or that may be malignant but can be completely excised (for example if it is easily reached by a surgeon), surgery will be the choice of action. There are many types of surgical intervention that your veterinary team will discuss with you. For example, a tumor in the larynx may involve a laryngectomy, and a tracheal tumor could require a removal and resectioning of part of the trachea. In most surgical cases, chemotherapy and radiation will follow.

Thyroid tumors can present a different scenario because medical control of the thyroidism (whether hypo or hyper) needs to be also managed. Typically, most thyroid tumors are found to be malignant. External beam radiation is one method used to destroy thyroid tumors.

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Recovery of Tumor of the Throat in Dogs

As the owner of a dog who has had a throat tumor, you should be aware that recurrence is possible, even after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. More than that, the knowledge that the longevity of your much-loved dog’s life may not be extended that much further even with treatment, should be a consideration. Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for an honest, heart to heart recommendation of what is best for your pet.

If you are in the fortunate circumstance that a full recovery is expected, you should be prepared to spend the time needed after the surgery to nurse your pet back to health. He will benefit greatly from a quiet area in which to rest and sleep. Your veterinary team will provide information for the home care such as special dietary requirements necessary after throat surgery, and instruction on the administration of pain relief and antibiotics as prescribed. Follow-up radiographs may be scheduled at 2 to 4-month intervals for quite some time as complete excision of the tumor is often impossible, and the chance of recurrence is always present.

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Tumor of the Throat Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$8,500

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Written by Darlene Stott

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 01/20/2016, edited: 05/07/2021

Tumor of the Throat Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Boxer

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

I Think He Has Thyroid Cancer. Large Lump On Right Side Near Thyroid Spreading To Ear

I just want main meds to make him comfortable.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. With out being able to see him, unfortunately, I cannot recommend any medications. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 16, 2020

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Boxer

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Large Lump On Throat

has a large hard lump under his neck throat area. Has a large skin tag on it as well that he rubs on his paws and mames it bleed

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

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Beagle/lab

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Heavy breathing, not eating/ drinking, lump on neck

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is okay. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment that might be needed.

Oct. 24, 2020

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Boxer

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Weigh Loss, Drooling, Lumps In Her Neck

Should we be concerned

Sept. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello I'm sorry to see that your pet is ill. If he is having diarrhea, weight loss and salivating, it is recommended that you take him or her to a veterinarian for an exam. He or she may have an infection or possibly a gastrointestinal blockage. Good luck.

Sept. 22, 2020

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Putbull

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Noisy Breathing

She has some very large lumps on her throat she's a feel on the outside if you open up your mouth look down look inside it seems like your throat is almost swollen shut she does eat she does drink but she really read fries really hard by cheese rasping for air

Aug. 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say what might be causing the problem for your dog, but if her throat is swollen and she's having trouble breathing or eating, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian right away. They will be able to see what might be causing the swelling, and What treatments might be needed so that she feels better again. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 19, 2020

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bella

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Boxer

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Lump On Throat, Loss Of Appetite, W
Lump On Throat, Loss Of Appetite
Loss Of Appetite Weight Loss

Bella.. has trouble breathing as if anxious, does not do normal activity like play, loss of appetite and weight loss, is very figity cant sit still, just noticed lump on throat area, vet here stated lungs filled with fluid and gave lasix and pred...looking for advice please

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Nugget

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Collie

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14 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Sleepy
Lost Weight

My Nugget is 14 years old and has a lump on the left side of his neck, he had two. The other one went away, we took him to the vet and he gave us tablets to help him. He didn’t move when the vet took the blood test, he couldn’t find anything so he sent it to the lab. Still nothing though, the tablets he gave us (couldn’t remember the name) that helped it gone down. We are trying to get more but it’s a bit hard on us for money, which I feel guilty about cause I don’t want him to be uncomfortable. He sleeps all day, only eats wet food, drinks here and there. Sometimes he will have a little bit of energy and follows me around, but would rather sleep. I can tell his struggling, feeling his neck and how hard it is breaks my heart. I was wondering if there’s anything I can do for him? Should I let him go when his time is up? Should I do the biopsy, which I think it will tell me his got cancer. Sorry this is all over the place, I’m just hoping there was something I can do to help nugget out. His the most beautiful dog, with the coolest fridge I’ve ever seen. Kind Regards x

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Raja

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American Staffordshire Terrier

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Depression
Pain
Lethargy
Aggression
Lump
Wheezing
Lack Of Appetite

My 7 year old American Staffordshire terrier has had asthma since she was a puppy and has a broken tooth from a faulty toy that a vet claimed was removed but only the piece that broke off was. We try to keep the temperature at a decent level and trained her to not get worked up to help her asthma and her tooth doesn't appear too bad but she's been acting weird for a few weeks, mean to the cats and my other amstaff/dalmatian female pitbull which she usually likes/tolerates. She's been extremely needy and lazy and sometimes acts like she doesn't hear anything at all.her breath is very shallow and she's very depressing looking. And today i felt 2 lumps, one quarter sized one near her collar and a large one roughly covered the whole right part of her neck. I can't visually or feel anything external that could cause them and due to having a previous dog that had cancer, I'm fearing the worst and I'm not financially secure enough to think i can pay for the surgeries

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Molly

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cockapoo

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Tired
Quiet
Tumors
Tight Stomach
Relaxed

My dog has a lot of tumors through out her body. She has one big one on her back leg and then a few smaller ones on the same leg. She now has two very big tumors on her throat and I've noticed she never barks anymore. She used to be a loud energetic dog but now she is quiet and very relaxed all of the time. She doesn't even get too excited when we say to go for a walk or ask her if she wants a treat. Her appetite seems to still be doing well. I've also noticed her stomach feels very tight. She is going to be 13 years old in one month but I still want her to be comfortable. Any ideas what is wrong/ what I can do?

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Donut

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Rat Terrier

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Respiratory Distress Noisy Breath
Odererus Breath

Last night she started choking, well that what we thought. She ended up doing it all morning so we took her to the vet, the vet think it is a tumor,but there is a small chance it might be a piece of food that is stuck. We also found out her trachea is failing. He said that he can’t remove the tumor because it is literally attached to her organs. My question is do you have any suggestions on what to do? Is there anything at all that we can do?

Tumor of the Throat Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$8,500

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