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Mike VI's lead cancer doctor says treatments at Cancer Center finished

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BATON ROUGE - Of all the patients Dr. Jonas Fontenot expected to take care of at Our Lady of the Lake Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Mike the Tiger was one he never could have imagined.

Fontenot led the team at the Cancer Center when Mike VI received radiation treatment in late May.  He spoke exclusively with WBRZ about the uniqueness of this case.

"It was a bit of a surreal moment," Fontenot said.  "You know, a 420-plus pound Siberian bengal tiger lying on a hospital stretcher ready to be taken to our simular and treatment rooms."

Mike underwent Stereotactic RadioTherapy, or SRT, to combat spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer in Mike's cheek.  Fontenot said aside from the obvious, Mike's treatment wasn't much different than any other patients'.  Patients usually have a customized plan to combat their disease and prepare doctors for any problems that may appear.

"We took the exact same approach with Mike," Fontenot said. "In mapping out the tumor that needed to be treated and identifying the normal tissues in Mike that needed to be avoided.

Now that the SRT treatment is complete, Fontenot says the vets at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine will monitor Mike's condition.  If the need becomes necessary, the Vet School will transport the tiger from his habitat on LSU's campus back to the hospital.

"I think all options are on the table," Fontenot said, "and they'll probably take it as it comes in deciding what the best next step will be in observing his progress."

Fontenot also mentioned the outpouring of support from LSU fans as helping encourage him as he took on a task he never thought he would.

"We were pleased to have a role in managing Mike's care," Fontenot said," and hopefully getting a few more years out of Mike for the people of our community.


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