Chondrosarcoma of the Bone in Dogs

Contributed by:  Texas Veterinary Cancer Registry

The Facts

Chondrosarcoma of the bone is a malignant form of cancer with a tendency to spread swiftly. If not diagnosed and treated early, it can be life threatening.  Chondrosarcoma arises from the connective tissue that is found between the bones and joints, often metastasizing to other parts of the body, including, but not limited to the ribs.

This is the most common rib tumor found in dogs, and the second most common primary tumor in dogs.  The majority of Chondrosarcomas involves flat bones, with a high percentage occurring in the nasal cavity. This form of cancer also may affect the limbs, with a resulting weakening in the structure of the bone that can lead to fractures.  Large breeds are at higher risk, as well as older dogs, but it has been found in dogs of almost all ages.

Signs that can be seen in dogs with Chondrosarcoma

  • Lameness if affecting the legs
  • Pain and / or swelling around the tumor site
  • Sneezing, discharge and / or nose bleed and difficulty breathing if the tumor is located in the nasal cavity


Treatment options for dogs with Chondrosarcoma

This highly aggressive and life-threatening tumor requires prompt treatment.  Amputation or limb salvage is usually recommended in cases where there is no metastasis (spreading) of the tumor in the affected limb.  For nasal tumors, radiation therapy is normally the treatment of choice.  Radiotherapy may also help in prolonging the lifespan in those dogs in which tumors are inoperable.  If the tumor involves the ribs, the veterinarian may decide to surgically remove the affected ribs and nearby lung tissues through a wide excision in order to prevent metastasis. Chemotherapy is recommended, but the effectiveness of this therapy has not yet been fully evaluated for this type of tumor.  Currently, surgery is the only treatment given for this disease.


The Texas Veterinary Cancer Registry (TVCR) is a Texas-based animal care database formed to identify and register pets with cancer in order to facilitate and promote their medical treatment that lead to cures for cancer in pets and people.