LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike the Tiger, has a rare and inoperable form of cancer, and will soon undergo a treatment of radiation therapy that has never before been used on a tiger, reports The Advocate. A tumor was discovered next to Mike’s eye by a student trainer, and a CT scan confirmed it was spindle cell sarcoma.
Mike will undergo a round of radiation therapy at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge—a cancer treatment center for humans, not animals— and it sounds like it will be an ordeal:
Logistics for anesthetizing the tiger and transporting him to a facility designed for humans will be a tremendous labor, Baker said, requiring a police escort to ensure public safety.
Baker said when Mike was sedated for the CT scan it took him three days to recover, suggesting some “fragility” in his kidneys, which caused concern about repeatedly giving anesthesia to the feline.
Doctors are hopeful that the treatment will give Mike one or two more years to live, as opposed to the few months to live he has without it. Though it still seems weird that a college has a live tiger living on campus, in the meantime it seems like Mike is in alright shape:
As of Monday, Mike, a Bengali-Siberian hybrid, could be seen napping as usual in his 15,000 square foot enclosure, located next to Tiger Stadium.
“He’s still tearing bushes up in his yard, playing with his ball,” Baker said of his condition.
Who’s a good tiger? Mike’s a good tiger. Good kitty.