An Australian woman bled to death after a rooster pecked at a leg vein while she was collecting chicken eggs, according to a case study published last month.

Pathologists explained that the “fatal rooster attack” involved a 76-year-old woman, whose name was withheld, who was on her rural Australian property when an aggressive rooster began pecking at her lower left leg.

The case study, which was published in the journal Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology last month, describes how the pecking led to a “significant hemorrhage” which then caused the woman to collapse.

The autopsy later revealed that there were two small, deep cuts on her leg -- one of which was above a large varicose vein. These enlarged, swollen and twisted veins can form due to excessive pressure on the legs or abdomen, obesity, lack of exercise or pregnancy and can cause sufferers to feel varying degrees of pain, according to the National Institute of Health.

Autopsy examiners determined that she died because she lost too much blood from the punctured varicose vein.

Roger Byard, a pathology professor at the University of Adelaide and co-author of the case study, told by email that “the case is significant, as it draws attention to the vulnerability of elderly folk with varicose veins to minor trauma, even from a rooster peck.”

Although he stressed that these “lethal rooster attacks” are very rare, small animals inflicting trauma to people’s veins have led to similar deaths before.

This latest case study is part of Byard’s larger goal to examine accidental deaths to reveal how they might have been prevented and to avoid similar-style deaths in the future.

“These deaths are preventable. If a vein is punctured, apply pressure to the bleeding point, lie down, elevate the leg and get help,” Byard said.

He also advised people to “treat all animals, even small ones with respect” and that “if you have varicose veins, have them treated.”

While varicose veins are not typically inherently harmful, Byard warns, if the veins go untreated, people need to be very mindful of even minor injuries.