In veterinary oncologic specimens, histopathology is the gold standard for determining adequacy of excision. Despite limitations of this technique, the pathologist's interpretation of margin status significantly impacts patient management, including indications for adjuvant therapy. This article aims to summarize peer-reviewed literature as it relates to histologic margin evaluation in veterinary cancer patients. The value of histologic tumour-free margins and technical factors influencing histopathologic margin outcomes are also discussed. We review alternative strategies for determining excisional status, and discuss how an evolving understanding of tumour biology might inform clinical and research perspectives on surgical margins. In doing so, we aim to provide context and a stimulus for future investigations into this important yet incompletely understood topic.