Mike VI's health has declined enough that he will no longer be allowed in the yard of his habitat for public viewing, his handlers said Monday.
LSU's live tiger mascot, whose body is riddled with cancerous tumors, will be kept inside in his night house in what his veterinarian described as a "hospice" setting. At some point, when Mike's veterinarian determines that the tiger is suffering, he will be "humanely euthanized."
Last week, Mike's LSU veterinarian David Baker announced that a previously diagnosed tumor has spread throughout the tiger's body. He said the 11-year-old tiger had only one or two months left to live.
In May, caretakers found a rare, lemon-sized tumor behind Mike's right eye that was determined to be a terminal. LSU Veterinary School in conjunction with Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center treated Mike with stereotactic radiation therapy which initially shrank the tumor.
But a CT scan earlier this month found that the initial tumor resumed growth, and smaller, nodule-like tumors were found in Mike's leg, on his neck and throughout his lungs.
LSU's live tiger mascot Mike VI, who was diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer in May, has…
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Last week, Mike was said to be in a comfortable condition and was allowed to remain in his yard for fans to say their goodbyes.
"As Dr. Baker said in the press conference, once Mike began to decline he would be transitioned to hospice care," said Ginger Guttner, a spokeswoman for the Veterinary school. "He will not be outside any more. Dr. Baker will continue to monitor him and will make the decision to humanely euthanize him when the time comes."
Baker previously said he's begun the search to find a live tiger cub to serve as LSU's new mascot.
Photos: Radiation burn visible on Mike the Tiger's face after cancer treatment
LSU's live mascot Mike Tiger VI has developed a dark patch on his face following radiation therapy he underwent for a spindle cell sarcoma.
An LSU spokesperson said the noticeable dark spot around the 420-pound tiger's right eye, which was previously covered by fur, formed naturally from his skin's melanin to protect the area from sunlight.
Mike was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma on the right side of his face in May after caretakers noticed swelling round his eye.
One family bids farewell to Mike VI; see photos from their final visit
Mike the Tiger has become a weekend treat for the Reeves family on Saturdays.
"After moving here eight years ago, a hop across the river to see Mike has become our favorite thing to do in Baton Rouge," said Nikki Reeves, mother of four."His magnificent charm and beauty captivate us as we watch him from afar".
On Saturday, Mike's final day outside before entering hospice care. Reeves took a number of pictures of the popular mascot.
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Some hoping to pay one last visit to Mike were unable to do so because the tiger was already moved to hospice care.
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