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Sam Richmond | | May 23, 2016

LSU football mascot 'Mike the Tiger' diagnosed with inoperable form of cancer

  Mike the Tiger has served as LSU's mascot since 2007.

LSU announced on Monday that its live mascot, Mike the Tiger, has been diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, an inoperable form of cancer.

A student caretaker discovered a tumor next to the 10-year-old tiger’s nose and a CT scan confirmed the diagnosis.

More on the situation from LSU:

Currently, Mike's attitude and demeanor are unchanged, and he does not appear to be in pain.

Mike's veterinarian, David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., and his veterinary student caretakers previously noticed swelling on the right side of Mike's face. On Thursday, May 12, Mike was sedated in his night house and then brought to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for a physical examination and diagnostic tests.

Once at the LSU SVM, Mike was put under general anesthesia and given a CT (computed tomography) scan to determine the cause of the swelling. All diagnostic findings were reviewed by multiple specialists, both at LSU and at other institutions, and it was determined that Mike has a tumor in his face near his nose. Biopsy analysis led to a diagnosis of spindle cell sarcoma, which is a malignant tumor derived from fibrous connective tissues of the bone. This is an extremely rare form of cancer, but this type of cancer is unlikely to spread to other areas of the body.

Mike the Tiger’s veterinarian and student caretakers have come up with a radiation therapy treatment plan that could keep the tiger alive for 1-2 more years. His life expectancy without such a plan would be 1-2 more months. 

“This treatment is not curative but should extend Mike's life and allow him to live comfortably for some time,” Baker said.

LSU will continue to provide updates on Mike’s condition at

Mike is the school’s sixth live mascot and has served in the role since 2007.

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