Partial tracheal obstruction due to chondromas in ball pythons (Python regius). Academic Article uri icon


  • Over a 9-mo period, three adult ball pythons (Python regius) (one male, two females) were evaluated for severe dyspnea. Partial obstructions of the tracheal lumen were identified radiographically and/or visualized with a 3.0-mm rigid laparoscope inserted into the tracheal lumen in all three snakes. Administration of systemic antibiotics and nebulization resulted in partial improvement of the dyspnea. In two snakes, the tracheal lesions were removed with a rigid laparoscope and a flexible biopsy instrument inserted into the tracheal lumen. The other snake died and was necropsied. Histologically, the lesions from two snakes were determined to be benign chondromas. The chondromas were composed of a variably disorganized chondroid matrix populated by quiescent, normal-appearing chondrocytes within lacunae, although the chondrocytes were increased in density compared with normal hyaline cartilage and contained rare mitotic figures. The tracheal masses in one snake grew by expansion, not invasion, and were focally continuous with a mineralized cartilage tracheal ring, suggesting a benign nature. This is the second report of tracheal chondroma in ball pythons. Tracheal chondromas are exceedingly rare in humans and domesticated animals, suggesting a possible predisposition of ball pythons for this neoplasm.

published proceedings

  • J Zoo Wildl Med

author list (cited authors)

  • Drew, M. L., Phalen, D. N., Berridge, B. R., Johnson, T. L., Bouley, D., Weeks, B. R., Miller, H. A., & Walker, M. A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Drew, ML||Phalen, DN||Berridge, BR||Johnson, TL||Bouley, D||Weeks, BR||Miller, HA||Walker, MA

publication date

  • March 1999