The team treating LSU’s live tiger mascot did a live run-through Saturday of how radiation therapy for spindle cell sarcoma would be done.
A 420-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger mix, Mike VI was anesthetized, transported about eight miles from his enclosure outside the LSU Peter Maravich Assembly Center to Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, according to LSU press releases.
The LSU Police Department posted photos to Facebook of motorcycle officers escorting the tiger across town.
The 11-year-old tiger was diagnosed earlier this month with a rare, inoperable and terminal form of cancer in a tumor under his eye. Caretakers had noticed swelling on the right side of Mike’s face.
The Cancer Center team on Saturday took images that will be used to map the tumor in the mascot’s face so doctors can plan his treatment using stereotactic radiotherapy, or SRT. The images ultimately will be used to precisely target the tumor and deliver radiation in a way that the physicians hope will spare surrounding normal tissues, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine said Saturday in a news release.
Mike may be treated with a single high dose of SRT or with smaller doses given over the course of up to three days. His treatments at the Cancer Center will take place outside of normal business hours, the release says.
“This treatment is not curative but should extend Mike’s life and allow him to live comfortably for some time,” the release says. LSU estimates he could live a couple more months without treatment, but perhaps one to two years with treatment.
Mike was taken back to his on-campus night house after Saturday morning’s trip to the Cancer Center.
“He is awake but will remain inside as he recovers from the general anesthesia necessary for the CT,” the Vet School news release says, noting that Mike will be closely monitored by veterinarian David Baker and student caretakers.