Thank you Susan Gasparatto of Onion Creek Farms for this article:
PERIPARTURIENT EDEMA IN A HEAVILY PREGNANT DOE
Usually occurring during the last six weeks of a doe's pregnancy, periparturient edema is a very uncomfortable swelling and irritation caused by fluid accumulation within the tissues underneath the skin.
The first indication is usually the doe's walking as if her feet hurt, followed by a gradual swelling in the lower part of her front legs and progressing to the lower half of her rear legs. Initial symptoms are so generalized that you can can mistakenly diagnose laminitis/founder.
Unlike ketosis or other pregnancy-related diseases, periparturient edema does not cause the doe to go off-feed. She will be listless, preferring to sit rather than stand because walking is painful, but she will continue to eat. Moaning, groaning, and grinding of teeth are common symptoms.
Periparturient edema usually appears in a doe that is carrying multiple large fetuses. She may have kidded before without similar problems and she may never have it again in future pregnancies. The fetuses are taking more out of her body than she can replace, putting her in a nutritional deficit condition. Edema is accompanied by increased blood pressure, decreases in blood proteins, and blockages in the body's lymph system (one of the body's main filtration mechanisms).
First step in diagnosis is to do fecals to check for worms because a heavy wormload can bring on periparturient edema. Even if she has been recently dewormed, deworm the doe again. Do not use Valbazen or Safeguard/Panacur dewormers. The white-colored dewormers don't kill barberpole stomach worms (Haemoncus contortus) in most of the USA any longer.
Supportive care is about all you can do to help a doe with periparturient edema. Keep her as comfortable as possible, but make her get up and walk short distances several times a day, and provide her with proper nutrition. No special supplement or diet is required. Definitely do not dramatically change her diet.
When kidding (parturition) occurs, you must be available and ready to help the doe stand to feed her kids during their first 48 hours of life. After that timeframe, the swelling should begin to go away and standing won't be difficult for her. Milk production should not be affected by this condition.