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I am sorry to hear you are worried about Louis. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.
I agree with you, this does sound like a problem in his spine, such as a disc that is inflamed, a pinched or entrapped nerve, etc. Trouble with stairs is often seen in dogs with neck or back pain. These problems do come and go. The scan he was scheduled for is the best way to look for and diagnose a problem like this.
Does the metacam seem to help? Sometimes I combine a nonsteroidal anti inflammatory medication like Metacam with pain medication like tramadol or gabapentin, along with a muscle relaxant called methocarbamol during these episodes. However, if you want a diagnosis, that scan is the best next step.
Let me know what else I can help with or answer.