We studied the natural history of canine side-wall experimental aneurysms to determine the incidence of spontaneous aneurysm thrombosis, to serve as control data for future studies focusing on development of aneurysm occlusion devices. Bilateral common carotid artery vein patch aneurysms were surgically created in eight mongrel dogs (20-25 kg). Duplex Doppler sonography was performed at 14 days and angiography between 30 and 210 days following aneurysm creation. Sonography demonstrated patency of 13 (81%) of 16 aneurysms. Patent aneurysms ranged in size from 8 x 10 mm to 14 x 16 mm. Conventional angiography was performed in four dogs approximately 30 days following aneurysm creation; in these four, all of 7 initially patent on sonography remained fully patent. One dog underwent conventional angiography at approximately 60 days following aneurysm creation; both aneurysms in this case remained widely patent. Three dogs underwent conventional angiography at approximately 200 days following aneurysm creation; all 4 aneurysms initially patent on sonography remained fully patent. None of the three aneurysms found to be occluded on sonographs demonstrated spontaneous recanalization. The canine side-wall aneurysm model is a valid tool for testing some aneurysm-occlusion devices, because control aneurysms remain patent indefinitely.