Unusually Wet Spring Leads to Unusual Problems for South Louisiana Cattlemen
Producer’s Story: Justin Fuselier
“I weighed my options and figured the treatments weren’t that practical so we choose to let it run its course.” - Justin Fuselier
An unusually wet spring leads to many problems for cattlemen across the state, particularly one father-son duo in Acadia Parish. Justin Fuselier and his father Vernon Fuselier run a grass only cattle operation south west of Eunice, La. In effort to sync their calving season with the natural nutritional cycles of their forages, they choose to calve in May on green grass. Unfortunately this year that brought weeks of little sunshine coupled with continuous rain. Not only were their forages washy, their calves developed what some around here would call “Rain Rot”.
“At first I noticed their hair coats getting real rough,” Justin Fuselier said. “I initially thought it was from the frequent wet and short dry periods. It wasn’t too long after that I realized that scabs were forming and patches of their hair began falling off. The moms would really work on these calves which in turn would remove the patches quickly and aggravate the skin, sometimes making it bleed. I sent pictures and consulted with my local vet, he felt that it was fungal, but didn’t claim to know what type or a specific treatment. He would have to send off samples to be sure. He offered remedies, but also said he was confident it would simply run its course,” said Fuselier.
Another individual with McNeese State University mentioned it may actually be bacteriaI and knew an individual that had treated his calfs with Penicillin. Through his own internet searches, Justin found that the symptoms seemed to match up well with a bacterium called Dermatophilus congolensis (Mud Fever, Rain Scald) and would be treated with penicillin.
“I weighed my options,” Fuselier said, “and figured the treatments weren’t that practical so we choose to let it run its course.”
All-in-all Vernon and Justin figure about 30% of their calf crop were affected. It seemed to be the younger calfs, 1-2 weeks of age, that were the most vulnerable. No adult cows showed signs of the infection. Today, most have completely recovered with little to no side effects. Those that did have issues suffered from lack of development or developmental setbacks during what was obviously a very miserable time for those affected animals.
“Hopefully this problem is purely environmentally driven and won’t show up during a normal weather pattern. If it does, I guess we’ll have something else to cull for,” Fuselier said.
Justin and Vernon have asked that anyone please feel free to reach out to them if they have dealt with similar issues, or if they know of any preventative measures or practical treatments for dealing with this problem. Justin can be reached at (337) 290-1255.