Rattlesnake bites two golden retrievers at Rancho San Diego home

Posted at 8:34 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 23:36:49-04

RANCHO SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) -- A local dog owner got home to a horrifying sight: her two golden retrievers with faces swollen from rattlesnake bites.

4-year-old Gracie and her mother, 9-year-old Sadie, were inseparable.

The two were together when Darlene Sweetwood returned to her Rancho San Diego home Tuesday night after a short shopping trip.

On the patio, she saw Gracie, her face swollen like a balloon. She then called for Sadie and when she came, Sweetwood saw that her face was swollen too.

"Just in shock. Can't describe how it feels," said Sweetwood.

Sweetwood immediately raced the dog to the vet and both received antivenin, but Sadie didn't survive. Sadie, who had been bitten once before, was actually more vulnerable because of the previous bite.

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"She got all the fluids, and pain medication and antivenin, but she likely got more of the venom. Because of the previous bite and her age, her heart just gave out," said Sweetwood.

Sweetwood lives on a canyon but says rattlesnake sightings are very rare near her yard.

Across the county, County Animal Services says rattlesnake calls have jumped significantly this year. Sweetwood's message for other dog owners: look into snake aversion training, something she now wishes she had done for her Sadie.   

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