Q. I have a 4-month-old Australian Shepherd. Sometimes she gets the hiccups. Will this lead to a problem when she is spayed and is under anesthesia? My vet just gave her shots and checked her heart. He said all is well. I didn’t ask him about having her spayed yet.
A. Hiccups in dogs are fairly common, and provide yet another source of cheap entertainment for dog owners. Almost all of the time, they are as benign in dogs as they are in people, and should not pose any additional risk with anesthesia.
However, a recent study showed that persistent hiccupping in older dogs could be associated with tumors of the esophagus or trachea. Not surprisingly, these masses cause irritation of the throat, and could be an early sign of possible cancer in older dogs.
No worries with your young dog, but anyone with an older “hiccupper” should have their dog checked out.
Jon Geller, DVM