Mike was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma after his veterinarian, David Baker, and veterinary student caretakers noticed swelling on the right side of Mike's face, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine said in a news release. On May 12, the tiger was sedated in his night house and brought to the school for an examination and diagnostic tests.
The tests, which were reviewed by multiple specialists, found that Mike has a tumor in his face near his nose. It was identified as spindle cell sarcoma, a malignant and "extremely rare" form of cancer, LSU said. The cancer is unlikely to spread to other areas of the body.
At this time, Mike's attitude and demeanor are unchanged, and he does not appear to be in pain, LSU said.
Specialists at LSU and around the country have put together a treatment plan, which consists of a radiation therapy called "stereotactic radiotherapy." The treatment is "not curative, but should extend Mike's life and allow him to live comfortably for some time," LSU said.
The therapy will be performed by specialists at Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lakes Cancer Center in Baton Rouge, in conjunction with Mike's veterinary team, LSU said.
It's estimated that Mike could live one to two months without treatment, and one to two years with treatment, LSU said.
Mike VI was born on July 23, 2005, and came to LSU when he was 2 years old. He made his debut in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 6, 2007, against Florida.
The average lifespan for a tiger in the wild is eight to 10 years; in captivity, a tiger can live 14 to 18 years, LSU said.
Mike V lived 17 years and died from renal failure.
LSU has had a live tiger mascot on campus since 1936.
Updates on Mike VI's condition will be made available at www.lsu.edu/miketiger and on his social media pages.