The LSU Tigers are having a tough season thus far, and it just got a lot tougher. The team’s mascot, Mike VI, has a rare form of cancer that has spread through his body, giving the tiger only 1-2 months to live.
LSU announced their tiger’s diagnoses of a “rare and inoperable form of cancer” in May of this year. At the time, veterinarians believed they could extend the 10-year-old tiger’s life by a couple of years through proper treatment. After a CT scan and physical exam conducted Monday, it was found the “cancer has spread to the base of his neck and to his lungs and right leg,” ESPN reports.
Dr. David Baker, of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, said “all of these findings carry a very grave prognosis.”
“Our current plan is to give the LSU community time to say their goodbyes to Mike. He will be turned out in his yard each day as usual, so long as his condition allows.” Baker said that the tiger will be put down when the time comes so the LSU mascot doesn’t suffer.
“Right now, his behavior and attitude are very normal. I tell people he doesn’t know how sick he is,” Baker said.
Mike VI has lived in a 15,000-square-foot enclosure next to Tiger Stadium since LSU acquired him from an Indiana animal sanctuary at 2-years-old. LSU’s athletic department has been covering the costs of the Tiger’s cancer treatment since his diagnosis.
LSU has already asked Baker start a searching animal rescue facilities for another tiger to be called Mike VII. “We intend to obtain a young male tiger in need of a good home,” Baker said. “So many of these facilities take on perhaps more animals really than they can manage.”
LSU is one of only two colleges who have a live tiger for a mascot.
The LSU football team will face off against the Florida Gators Saturday in Gainesville without recently release head coach Les Miles and Mike VI who will stay in his habitat on campus.