Helminths are parasitic worms. Dracunculus insignis is a species of roundworm found mainly in the connective tissue beneath the skin of the legs. They are known to infest raccoons, minks, and other animals in North America. These worms are rare in cats, but they are occasionally found in cats that have been around small lakes and bodies of shallow, stagnant water. Cats can also become infected by drinking contaminated water or eating an infected animal such as a frog. Treatment requires careful extraction of the worm by a veterinarian. In some cases, medications are also given (see Skin Disorders of Dogs: Dracunculus Infection).
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Karen A. Moriello, DVM, DACVD; Thomas R. Klei, PhD; David Stiller, MS, PhD; Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD; Michael W. Dryden, DVM, PhD; Carol S. Foil, DVM, MS, DACVD; Paul Gibbs, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS; John E. Lloyd, BS, PhD; Bernard Mignon, DVM, PhD, DEVPC; Wayne Rosenkrantz, DVM, DACVD; Patricia A. Talcott, MS, DVM, PhD, DABVT; Alice Villalobos, DVM, DPNAP; Patricia D. White, DVM, MS, DACVD