Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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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), resulting in fluid accumulation in the legs.

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 unless you have done fecal egg counts using McMasters slides and have proven that these dewormers are effective against barberpole worms in your herd. 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.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 2/1/24

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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