Vet says he kept promise to not let Mike VI suffer
BATON ROUGE – The veterinarian who treated Mike VI in his finals days released a statement Thursday thanking the LSU community for their support.
In the letter, Dr. David Baker said that he kept his promise to make sure that Mike VI would not suffer. Baker and his team made the tough decision to euthanize the tiger on Oct. 11, just one day after he was transitioned into hospice care and taken out of his public yard.
The LSU Veterinary School announced last week that Mike VI’s tumor had grown and the cancer had spread to his lungs and rear leg. Doctors then said that the live mascot only had one to two months to live.
Mike VI was 11 years old and adopted by the university in 2007. He was diagnosed with cancer in May and underwent radiotherapy in June at the Mary-Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.
Read Dr. Baker’s full letter here:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the LSU community for the love and concern shown for Mike VI during his illness, and for your prayers and support for his medical team. We all felt undergirded by you. Many have asked what happened to accelerate our timetable for Mike's euthanasia. Over the past weekend, he took an obvious turn for the worse. He became very lethargic, inappetent, and showed little interest in interacting with his caretakers. However, our greater concerns were the following: 1) Mike would refuse to enter the night house making medical assessments and additional treatments extraordinarily difficult; 2) He began exhibiting new signs of complications, indicating that the tumor was causing additional damage to his sinus cavity. We could not allow that to go on because it would eventually lead to his suffering. According to our pathologists, both of these concerns appear to have been well founded. It was discovered that the cancer had spread to almost every organ in Mike’s body, such that it was unlikely that he would have lived more than a few additional days.
We are sorry for those of you who were not able to see Mike VI before he transitioned into “hospice” care Saturday night but we simply could not risk turning him back out into his yard and then not being able to bring him back inside for care. While we might have been able to nurse him along for a few more days, that would not have been in Mike's best interest. Mike's well-being was always our sole concern. It might comfort people to know that even after receiving an anesthetic Tuesday, Mike VI was "chuffing" at his caretakers. This tells us that while he felt poorly, he was not suffering. As promised, we would not allow that to happen. It also showed us that he trusted us to the end to care for him. Thanks again.