Canine osteosarcoma is a prevalent bone neoplasm which has similarities to the human disease. We used a retrospective study to investigate the possibility that tumor vascularity may provide useful prognostic information, indicative of the role of this parameter in progression of this cancer. We quantified microvessel density in 52 histological specimens of primary tumor, immunostained for von Willebrand's Factor to identify vascular endothelium. For the 20 cases not euthanized at presentation or lost to follow-up, we found significantly higher tumor microvascular densities in animals presenting with detectable pulmonary metastases (5 of 20), and significantly lower densities in animals without metastatic disease at presentation, but later surviving to develop pulmonary metastases (7 of 20; P < 0.05). Animals with no evidence of pulmonary metastases at time of death (8 of 20) had intermediate vascular densities in their tumors. The results of this preliminary study suggest that vascularity of the primary tumor may be an indication of tumor progression. Future studies with a larger number of cases should establish whether vascular density can be a useful prognostic parameter for canine osteosarcoma.