A 76-year-old woman died in Australia recently after a few pecks from a rooster resulted in a catastrophic vein injury.
The alarming conclusion was published in the journal Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology in late August.
According to pathologists from the University of Adelaide and the Netherlands Forensic Institute, a domestic rooster attacked the woman on her rural property, pecking at her left leg and “causing significant hemorrhage with collapse and death.”
“Death was therefore due to exsanguination from bleeding varicose veins following an attack by a rooster,” the researchers wrote. Exsanguination refers to draining of the blood, or a significant loss of blood.
The freak accident has less to do with killer fowl and more to do with a tragic confluence of preexisting conditions. The pathologists found the woman had been treated for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and varicose veins in the past.
“This case demonstrates that even relatively small domestic animals may be able to inflict lethal injuries in individuals if there are specific vascular vulnerabilities present,” the paper concludes.
CNN has emailed the authors of the paper for comment.
There are a lot of conditions that could be considered “vascular vulnerabilities.” Varicose veins, which ultimately contributed to the woman’s death, aren’t typically associated with serious health risks. However, some recent research has explored a link between varicose veins and potentially dangerous vascular conditions like deep venous thrombosis.
And while the manner of this woman’s death is quite unusual, there are other, more common risks of raising chickens.
In 2018, a widespread salmonella outbreak from live poultry led the Centers for Disease Control to issue guidance about preventing the spread of the bacteria among backyard chicken populations.