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Mike VI's cancer has spread, expected to live 1-2 months

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BATON ROUGE – Mike VI's tumor has continued to grow and the cancer has spread, giving the tiger just one to two months to live LSU veterinary officials announced on Wednesday.

Mike VI, LSU's live tiger mascot, was diagnosed with cancer this spring. A CT scan was conducted on Wednesday morning to check the status of his condition when veterinarian's learned of the growth.

Dr. David Baker, LSU's attending veterinarian, said that the tumor, originally in the tiger's head, has spread and is blocking his right sinus cavity and tear duct. Baker said that nodules have developed in Mike VI's right rear leg and in his lungs. 

Baker said that "nothing more could be gained by additional radiation." The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine initially treated Mike VI's tumor with stereotactic radiotherapy at the Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer center in the spring and veterinarians were able to shrink the tumor, giving the tiger four additional months to live. However, Baker said that the tumor has been aggressive. 

Moving forward, the tiger will be placed in his open yard area for last visits with students, faculty and fans until he is transitioned into hospice care where he will be placed in his night house, according to Baker. Mike VI will then be euthanized when veterinarians feel and know "when it is the right time," Baker said. 

A final necropsy, an animal autopsy, will be conducted before he is cremated and placed in the Andonie sports museum on LSU's campus along with Mike IV and V. 

The search for Mike VI's replacement, Mike VII, has begun and Baker said that he will look for similar qualities that were found before such as a "clean bill of health and a confident, engaging and interactive personality." He said that he plans to get the next tiger from a rescue facility.

Baker said that although it is disappointing and sad that the cancer has spread, however he is "thankful" that Mike VI has "enriched the lives" of many. Baker mentioned that on Oct. 21 marks the 80th year that LSU has had a live tiger mascot on its campus. 

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