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LSU's Mike VI's cancer spreads; doctors say could have 1 to 2 months to live


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Mike VI’s aggressive form of cancer has spread and doctors estimate that he has one to two months to live. They added LSU’s live tiger mascot will no longer undergo treatment. 

“We will not allow Mike to suffer,” said LSU’s Attending Veterinarian David Baker, DVM, Ph.D. “We will monitor him closely every day and will humanely euthanize him when the time comes. This is about treating Mike with dignity, compassion and respect.”

Mike VI was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma in May 2016. On June 1, he received a round of radiation therapy, which initially showed positive results. 

“All evidence showed that was the treatment was curative, it was effective in shrinking the tumor,” Dr. Baker said.

On Monday, Mike VI was taken in for a follow-up CT scan. 

“The findings were not encouraging,” Dr. Baker explained. “The tumor has resumed growth and has blocked his right sinus cavity, which caused an infection that he was treated for recently. He has developed small nodules in the skin of his right leg, base of his neck and elsewhere. They are small tumors similar to the one that is in his head. X-rays revealed he has multiple tumors in his lungs. All of this shows that the cancer has obviously spread.” 

Dr. Baker said the aggressive nature of the cancer is unlike any he has seen before.

“The treatment did exactly what it was expected to do,” he said. “The problem was not the treatment it was the tumor itself.” 

Due to this, his caregivers have decided it is best to end his treatment. 

“Our best estimate is that Mike VI has another one to two months to live,” Dr. Baker estimates. “He will be turned out in the yard each day as long as his condition allows. When we perceive his condition has declined, he will transition to his night house in essentially what is hospice care.” 

Dr. Baker noted that the university has asked for him to begin the process of scouting for a new, male tiger. 


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